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Play for Palestine fundraisers raise over £60,000 for projects in Gaza

In the light of the 11-day Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, a group of friends from the Tooting locality rallied together to raise funds for humanitarian efforts in the occupied Palestinian territory. This included several all-day restaurant fundraisers as well as a 32-team knockout football tournament to help raise funds for Human Aid’s ‘Gaza Emergency Appeal’. The project supports the largest Hospital in Gaza – Al-Shifa, with medical supplies as well as supporting displaced families with food, sanitary items and bedding.  

The events were part of a fundraiser’s campaign ‘Play for Palestine’ to raise funds from a charity football tournament. Customers were invited to do their part and enjoy their meals knowing 50% to 100% of proceeds would go to charity. With help from everyone involved in both initiatives, the total amount raised was over £60,000. 

Tariq Shaekh, CEO at Human Aid, says: “The sheer scale of these series of events has been unprecedented. We have seen a whole community of organisers and supporters come together for weeks on end. Event after event, supporter after supporter, everyone has played a key role in making this campaign a game-changer. I’d like to give a big personal thank you to the Play for Palestine team who gave so much to orchestrating the whole operation, to 15+ restaurants who partnered with us to give their proceeds to charity, the 32 football teams who took part in the tournament and fundraised, and of course to all the supporters and donors that made this a success. Insha Allah we will be back next time, bigger and better Insha Allah. 

In my 10 years in the sector, I’ve never seen a coming together of businesses for any cause and having spoken to the restaurant owners, they loved the initiative and look forward to doing something even bigger and better with us and the volunteer team in the future Insha Allah. So, watch this space.” 

Human Aid is an international charity providing urgent humanitarian relief to victims of conflict – as well as addressing the root causes of conflict. We instil hope by standing up for their right to a life with dignity and freedom from oppression. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Statutory Inquiry ends, confirms the Charity Commission

With Ramadan upon us, the Ummah is readying itself for this blessed month. As the Shayateen are locked up it becomes easier for believers to focus on their worship, obedience, and abstinence from sin.

Alhamdulilah we can share with you the good news that Human Aid UK has received confirmation of the ending of the Statutory Inquiry that was opened by the Charity Commission in August 2019. In correspondence, the Commission have stated:

“The Commission has determined that the substantive investigatory phase of its Inquiry into the Charity can be closed….The Commission is satisfied that its regulatory concerns can be addressed through the provision of further advice and guidance to the trustees.”

We would like to thank the trustees and staff that have been supporting the process.

Just before Ramadan the charity has been alleviated from this burden and can now enter Ramadan able to focus on continuing the impactful work on the ground with your ongoing kindness and support.

Together we can bring a positive impact to the victims of war and persecuted communities.

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Statement on recent events

This statement is in response to queries we have received from well-wishers about some social media messages and emails that make defamatory remarks about the Charity. 

Human Aid UK have investigated these malicious communications. The authors of the posts are suspected to be a couple of former employees. These former employees are connected to a company called Muslim Giving Ltd. Disputes related to finances and control of that company erupted several months ago resulting in the breakdown of relations, the sacking of one Company Director, public spats and legal action against Directors of the company. Individuals connected to Muslim Giving Ltd happened to be employees of Human Aid UK. Sadly, those involved in this external business dispute began using Human Aid as a punching bag to settle their scores. 

In the course of this ongoing business dispute, these individuals have:

  • Sent mass emails to members of the public, containing false allegations concerning Human Aid UK (about their former Muslim Giving Ltd business associates).
  • Disclosed private WhatsApp/telegram messages of their former business associates. 
  • Used blackmail and threats to try and settle their business dispute using Human Aid UK as their ‘leverage’. 
  • Deliberately targeted donors of Human Aid UK and asked them to ‘stop all direct debits’ to the charity. Simply to apply pressure on their former business associates.
  • Used fake names and anonymous emails to do all of the above, since they know they will lose credibility if the public were to discover their identity.

It is completely wrong to knowingly harm a charity in the interest of advancing your personal and business interests. 

As soon as we suspected who the individuals may be, we reached out to them to try and find a solution whilst protecting Human Aid UK:

  • We arranged informal mediation through community leaders, but this didn’t succeed.
  • Thereafter we offered to meet on several occasions with any disgruntled former employees to hear out their concerns, but this was rejected. 
  • Finally, we offered to refer the matter to the Islamic Council of Europe (ICE), to see if a resolution could be attained. Again this was rejected.

Yet emails and messages have been continually sent around within the community deliberately designed to malign the charity and dissuade donors from supporting our work. These contain threats to blackmail and show malice and intent to harm the charity irrespective of our response and efforts. Abusing any charity like this is totally unacceptable and shameful behaviour, especially if it is by former staff members.

Any concerns around conflicts of interest are already being managed by the Trustees and with full knowledge of the Charity Commission as we announced earlier this year https://human-aid.org/news/independent-review-2020 and further explained here https://human-aid.org/news/statement-regarding-mg. We will act firmly to protect the charity and its interests, we have no concern for Muslim Giving Ltd and stopped using their services in February 2019.

We would like to thank all our donors and supporters that have sent in messages of support and dua – Jazakumullahkhair to you all and please ignore the trolls. 

We ask all our supporters and donors to make dua for the charity to enable us to rectify, improve and grow to fulfil our vision and mission.

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Statement regarding MG

In late June 2019, Human Aid UK (HAUK) Trustees commissioned an Independent Examination of the charity’s projects, governance, and finances for the two previous financial years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. This was commissioned after new trustees joined the charity with the aim to help trustees identify areas of weakness and development, and put in place measures to strengthen the charity. This examination was conducted in line with our key value of safeguarding the Amanah (trust) given to the charity by donors.

One of the areas the examination looked into was decision making and conflicts of interest arising out of our relationship with one supplier, MuslimGiving Ltd. Several members of the charity including staff, volunteers and board members were also involved with MuslimGiving. This was possible at the time, due to the charity having no clause within employee or volunteer contracts that prevented anyone from having additional employment or starting their own business.

In the interest of transparency, we have published a summary of how the charity has managed this concern uncovered by the Independent Examination:

  1. After the launch of MuslimGiving in 2018, the charity looked into using MuslimGiving as a fundraising platform. Its Donor Management Team carried out a detailed analysis of all fundraising platforms and provided the Board with an evaluation. The Board recognised and noted that some members of HAUK were conflicted. It appointed non-conflicted members the responsibility to decide on MuslimGiving. It was agreed that HAUK can use MuslimGiving as an additional fundraising platform, while Every Day Hero remained as the primary fundraising platform for the charity.
  2. In November 2018, an email from the Board to staff recognised that some HAUK members were conflicted, and explained how decision making took place to manage this conflict of interest. 
  3. Concerns around conflicts of interest persisted, however. On 18th February 2019, the Board sent a further email to staff reiterating that conflicted members of the charity were not involved in the decision-making regarding the use of MuslimGiving. By the end of February, MuslimGiving suspended Human Aid UK’s use of its platform, after the board raised questions – all of the charity’s 354 fundraising pages were closed. 
  4. Since that point the charity has not used MuslimGiving as a fundraising platform directly, however, some individuals who have fundraised for Human Aid have preferred to use MuslimGiving to raise funds for their elected causes/missions. This is something outside of the control of the Charity if individuals wish to raise funds using different platforms. 
  5. Several key individuals who were either directors or shareholders of MuslimGiving were removed from or left the charity in order to safeguard the integrity and reputation of the charity. We are at the closing stages of complete removal of this concern of Conflict of Interest from the charity.
  6. In addition, information regarding the Conflict of Interest with MuslimGiving was provided to the Charity Commission on 11th October 2019 as part of our ongoing engagement with the Commission and in the interests of transparency.

If anyone has questions, concerns or wishes to disclose any information then the Board are happy to meet in person to discuss this matter further.

We continue to work to rectify areas of concern and improvement that were identified from the Independent Examination and the above is just one area identified that we have moved to rectify. 

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Trustee Commissioned Independent Review

Assalamu’alaykum

We pray that you receive this message in good health and emaan.

Human Aid UK was established in 2010, with the aim of supporting victims of war and persecuted communities. This is embodied in our mission statement: “We aid victims of war and persecution, as well as addressing the root causes of conflict. We instil hope by standing up for their right to a life with dignity and freedom from oppression. We nurture citizens through programmes that connect their hearts to the oppressed.”

Since our inception we have grown through your continued support, Alhamdulillah. From the charity starting off with work in Gaza, we have gone on to carry out lifesaving projects in Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Bangladesh by extension Burma as well as delivering projects in the UK. All of this was only possible through your generous donations and support over the years.

After a 2-year absence for health reasons, Brother Nur Choudhury returned to the charity in 2019 as the Chair. Brother Nur along with the trustees commissioned an external independent examination of Human Aid UK’s projects, governance and finances for the financial years between 2017-2019. The aim was to help trustees identify areas of weakness and development and put in place measures to strengthen the charity. This examination was conducted in line with our key value of safeguarding the Amanah (trust) given to the charity by yourselves.

The Independent Examination identified areas of concern and development that the charity had to address. Undeclared conflicts of interest were prevalent as well as inadequate operational practices due to lack of oversight by Management.

The charity has taken steps to resolve the most important concerns and has developed a plan of action to address the remaining concerns and areas of development.

The changes that have already been implemented include:

  • The composition of the Board of Human Aid UK has increased to include a diverse range of skills and experience.
  • The introduction of new accounting software for better reporting and management.
  • The amending and updating of Human Aid UK’s donation policy, which is now verified by the Islamic Council of Europe (ICE).
  • The commencement of regular staff appraisals and evaluations with clear KPI’s.
  • The implementation of a regularly reviewed Conflict of Interest register.
  • The review of all charity partners and development of better reporting standards.

 

We will Insha’Allah continue to strive to improve our processes and systems, to enable us to fulfil our responsibilities and we welcome your suggestions to help us improve and develop. This will allow us to have the greatest impact for the victims of war and persecution.

These are difficult times, but with Allah (swt) and your support we truly believe we can help those in difficulty, to live with dignity and freedom from oppression.

May Allah (swt) bless and protect you all for your support and make all our efforts for His (swt) sake.