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UPCOMING EVENTS

HHE relies on the support of donors and the participation of volunteers to spearhead its fundraising efforts. To get involved and to receive updates on our events and activities, please click here

PREVIOUS EVENTS

HHE relies on the support of donors and the participation of volunteers to spearhead its fundraising efforts. To get involved and to receive updates on our events and activities, please click here

Our Founder’s Blog

First event: 2015 to Summer 2016

When I first thought of establishing a charity to help kids in my home town I was initially apprehensive, overwhelmed by the scale of the need, but in no time at all friends and family rallied around to support the cause with enthusiasm, even though for the main part they had no connection with Nigeria. No sooner did we begin to contact UK schools than we were overwhelmed with offers of donations of books. My fellow trustees and I were soon driving around Greater London towards the end of the summer term when schools tend to sort through their stock before the long holiday, collecting library books, textbooks, microscopes, Bunsen burners and other donations of equipment. Many schools rallied to the cause, not least among which were Bacon’s College in south-east London, Camden School for Girls in north-west London and Whitmore High School in Harrow.

 

To date, the furthest afield we have travelled is Monmouth in Wales – a journey that took us over the Severn Bridge into stunning, hilly scenery, a far cry from my home alongside the arterial A40 on the outskirts of London. That day was a sweltering summer’s day during Ramadan. Fellow trustee Nabeela Bhutta came to the fore on that occasion by obtaining and driving a transit van to collect the Monmouth School’s generous donations, insisting on funding the fuel cost from her own pocket. The round trip took the best part of a day and it was hot and thirsty work, but highly satisfying knowing that the donated materials would find their way to a new home where they would continue to nourish the minds of another generation of young people.

 

Just as Nabeela helped so much with the Monmouth School trip, so other trustees and volunteers rolled up their sleeves and mucked in to collect donations from other schools. Trustee Kanwal Chaudhry worked long and hard over two days at Whitmore High School, together with volunteer staff and students, helping us to pack and catalogue hundreds of donated science and mathematics textbooks. Dimple Patel, a teacher at Bacon’s College, secured two jumbo van loads of similar books and rounded up students to help shift them all into the van. Thank God that another friend, Tamir, made his van available to us to accomplish this and volunteered his time and fuel free of charge. Another of our trustees, Shazia Syed, put us in touch with a remarkably energetic and active octogenarian, Genette Dagtoglou, who has made it her life’s work to help educational projects around the world by sending books to Burma, Somalia, Pakistan and now Nigeria, among others, and has set herself a personal target of reaching one million books globally. Having seen her garage, I wouldn’t like to bet against that! She has contributed hundreds of books to help launch our public library in Ogbomosho, including reference works on law, medicine, as well as large numbers of science textbooks. I must also mention the kind encouragement of my friend Peter Day here, who put us in touch with Sara Wood of Camden Girls’ High School who contributed many sets of English novels and textbooks for classroom use as well as library books that were surplus to requirement. I was delighted too when my father-in-law decided to clear out his home library and donated hundreds of quality books to the cause, as did many other friends, neighbours and contacts known to me.

 

We have also been fortunate to have received gifts of thousands of Arabic and Islamic books from mosques and Islamic bookshops and publishers to form part of the Ogbomosho lending library.

 

With all these donations of tens of thousands of books, we were left with the task of putting them into some semblance of order ready for shipment. It took months of working during over weekends and on free evenings to sort, catalogue and box up the books ready for shipment, and again, I am exceedingly grateful to the trustees, their family members and other volunteers who mucked in to help with this gargantuan task. Eventually, on June 15, 2016, we were able to load up a 20-foot shipping container ready for the voyage to the port of Tin Can Island in Lagos. A donor who wishes to remain anonymous generously sponsored the shipping cost, for which we are extremely grateful. I don’t want to bore you here with details of the excruciating port clearance process and the weeks of correspondence and paperwork that needed to be completed to release the shipment, but I’m glad to say by the grace of God we eventually succeeded! The books are now safely warehoused in Ogbomosho awaiting the construction of the Educational Resource Centre. Well done everybody, and well done too to all the unsung heroes who also played their part.



Second event: Sunday, February 19, 2017

After one or two false starts, we finally launched our first fundraising event in February 2017. This could not have been achieved without the remarkable support of the Windsor Muslim Association, spearheaded by Mohamed Ariff, who secured a venue for us, worked tirelessly on the event day and readily put his expertise at our disposal. We owe him a debt of gratitude.

 

Again, the trustees of Helping Hands for Education took this event to their hearts and threw themselves into making it a success, enlisting support from their many family and friends. Trustee Rafhan Mughal, despite being busy getting ready to head off to Saudi Arabia to perform the ‘umrah the day before the event, still managed to make a significant contribution by organising all the cold soft drinks that went on sale. The Friends of HHE got involved by cooking copious amounts of delicious food to sell – biryani, samosas, pakoras and sweetcorn, and cakes and cookies galore. Stalls included face painting and mehndi (henna hand painting) and the sale of Islamic books and hijabs, and table tennis was arranged too. Again, Nabeela Bhutta was a pillar of strength, arranging the purchase of essential supplies despite her busy work schedule.

 

We were keen to make the event as environmentally friendly as possible, so we took time to ensure that any waste generated was sorted ready for recycling. Our supporters Umar, Aamir, Kashif and Nabeela took charge of what food remained at the end of the event and, despite having been on their feet all day, made the long journey to Lincoln’s Inn Fields in Holborn where it was handed out to the homeless through the Children of Adam charity project, so nothing was wasted.