Update for Operation SA

Update for Operation SA

Submitted by Islamic Relief SA on 24 January 2017

“Emergency assistance for Aleppo families”

The Islamic Relief team inside Syria has responded with humanitarian support to the hundreds of families that have fled Aleppo since mid-December 2016, and has assisted their re-settlement in makeshift camps on the outskirts of Aleppo City and Idlib.

This relief operation titled “Emergency Response to new displacement from Eastern Aleppo City” is aimed at providing immediate life-saving assistance and support to displaced the population, , alleviate their suffering, and ensure their health, dignity, safety and well-being.

The programme, jointly funded by Islamic Relief Worldwide partners; including Sweden, South Africa, Switzerland & Australia, aims to assist 200 Families (1000 individuals) through distribution of Shelter and NFI kits and 6000 families (30,000 individuals) with WASH activities, mainly hygiene kit distribution, water trucking and solid waste deportation over a 6 month period.

The OperationSA funding of one million ZAR has been directed towards expanding these current operations. Islamic Relief South Africa matched the donation by OperationSA Rand for Rand and subsequently transferred an amount of 2 million ZAR to IR Syria Mission via IR Worldwide on 09 Jan 2017.

A comprehensive report will be provided on completion of the operation.

For interim updates, kindly contact Abdullah Vawda on Abdullah.Vawda@islamic-relief.org.za or telephonically on
+27 11 8361054

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Response to #SAveSyria is ‘overwhelming’

#OperationSA launched the drive earlier this week in response to calls to help with humanitarian efforts in Aleppo and other parts of war-torn Syria.

“The response from South Africans has been overwhelming. We are continuing to get pledges online and via SMS,” said #OperationSA founder Yusuf Abramjee.

Almost R14-million has been pledged for #SAveSyria. A multi-channel four hour pledge line broadcast on Tuesday evening raised R 10 028 953.00

The #SAveSyria #OperationSA campaign was launched following calls to assist victims of the Syrian conflict. Abramjee with fellow social activists Yaseen Theba and Catherine Constantinides are among those behind #OperationSA.

Scores of young children, some donating their spending money, also called in. A Pretoria family, who did not want to be named, even cancelled their planned holiday to donate to #SAveSyria.

The money is to be distributed to seven local charities who are doing humanitarian work in Syria. They are the Al-Imdaad Foundation, Africa Muslims Agency, Jamiatul-Ulama SA, Jamiatul-Ulama KZN, Al-Quds Foundation, Muslim Judicial Council and Islamic Relief SA.

The Al-Quds Foundation is preparing a container with food and clothing and it is scheduled to leave Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“South Africans and foreigners really opened their hearts. The donations will go a long way to ease the pain and suffering of Syrians,” said Abramjee from #OperationSA

“We are witnessing ubuntu in action yet again. The response from the public has been amazing and we will ensure that every rand raised is used for humanitarian relief such as food, blankets, medicines and shelter,” added Abramjee.

He said “it was not only Muslims who were donating. People from all sectors of society are digging deep into their pockets.

“If one person suffers we all feel the pain. It is our duty to help those in need irrespective of religion, nationality or race. We are all human.

“The pledge recall rate is brilliant. We almost have 50% of the money in within such a short space of time. I have not seen such a response in all the years of charity and community work,” Abramjee told the Saturday Star.

Yaseen Theba from #OperationSA said the pledge line was a “major success.”

He said “we were not sure how much money will come in because we are in the middle of the holiday season.

“The phones did not stop ringing. The shocking images from Syria also prompted many callers to donate. The almost R14m raised in such a short period of time shows we are a caring nation,” said Theba who directed the Call Centre Operations.

Online pledges are still coming in and the public can continue donating on the website www.operationsa.org

Donations can also be made via Whats App and SMS: 072 3 99 99 99.

Catherine Constantinides said: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. South Africans never stop to amaze. They dig deep into their pockets and they always make a difference. We have hearts of gold. I am proud of my colleagues at #OperationSA, the many volunteers and sponsors. Well done also to the media for supporting the cause.”

Abramjee said he and Qari Ziyaad Patel from the Al-Imdaad Foundation will lead a delegation to the Turkish-Syrian border early in the new year “to look at conditions on the ground and the relief operations underway.”

The Al-Imdaad Foundation is co-ordinating the visit with #OperationSA and “we want to see exactly how every rand donated by people is going to be used.”

“We will not allow money donated to be used for salaries, agents fees and admin costs,” said Abramjee.

#OperationSA will continue to work locally and internationally by engaging with partners, donors and communities “to develop projects that bring relief, hope and dignity to some of the most vulnerable people.”

Abramjee and Theba were part of the team that founded Operation Hydrate earlier this year. The civil-society group donated millions of liters of water to drought-stricken communities.

Abramjee is also Chief Ambassador the CEO Sleepout SA. This year they donated R9m to three charities involved in education. Over R20m went to Boys and Girls Town last year.

“Our mission in life should be to help others in need and create a better world,” he said.

In partnership with the Al-Imdaad Foundation, Abramjee and the Operation Hydrate team also drilled boreholes in many parts of SA.

Al-Imdaad’s Projects Coordinator Qari Ziyaad Patel said : “Our teams on the ground are ready to facilitate the relief efforts on behalf of #OperationSA and with the experience and transparency we have it will indeed be and eye opener for the group.

“The situation and difficulties faced by the Syrian people is without doubt the worst humanitarian crisis of our time and together this initiative from #OperationSA will make a huge difference.”

Saturday Star

#OperationSA’s telethon to save Syria a success

Johannesburg – South Africans showed their spirit of Ubuntu again on Tuesday night when the #OperationSA organisation hosted a live telethon in Joburg, in an effort to raise money for humanitarian relief in war-torn Syria.

#OperationSA was formed by social activists Yusuf Abramjee and Yaseen Theba, among others, in reaction to the plight of Syrians experiencing hardships as war rages between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime.

During the live broadcast of the telethon, both Abramjee and Theba stressed that they could not sit back and do nothing while their fellow humans in Syria suffered because of a senseless war.

“We know what is happening [in Syria] – men, women and children are being slaughtered. How can we as South Africans sit back and watch the blood continuing to flow? It’s heartbreaking,” Abramjee said.

He contended that the rest of the world has largely sat back and done nothing to assist Syrians, saying South African should draw on their spirit of Ubuntu.

“We, in South Africa, in the true spirit of Ubuntu, have decided to unite under the banner of #OperationSA and to really make a difference. There’s an urgent need for food, medicine, blankets, mattresses and shelters,” Abramjee added.

The first caller on the telethon was a young girl from Pretoria, Amina, who pledged R5 000 to the relief efforts, saying she also wanted to play her part.

Abramjee emphasised that every cent which is collected will go towards Syrians in need, and their organisation will make sure that the intended beneficiaries receive the funds.

“The chief executive of ITV, the channel which hosted the telethon, and myself will be travelling to Syria over the next two weeks to ensure that every cent that you are donating tonight is well spent,” he asserted.

After roughly one hour and 15 minutes after the telethon began, Theba announced that they had managed to raise over R1.2 million from pledges throughout South Africa and outside of South Africa.

Beneficiaries of this initiative include the Al Imdaad Foundation, Islamic Relief SA, Africa Muslims Agency, Jamiatul Ulama SA and Jamiatul Ulama KZN. There are also a number of smaller organisations which will benefit from this initiative.

People can continue to make pledges on http://www.operationsa.org/. 

khaya.koko@inl.co.za