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Thursday, September 9, 2010

11-Year-Old Raised $2,400 for Pakistan's Flood Victims

This Ramadan, many children in the U.S. were touched by scenes of devastating flooding in Pakistan and decided to donate their own life-savings or raise money for a cause they felt passionately about. Read Nilo Ahmadzada's letter written about her son, Arif, who raised $2,400 for flood victims.

The devastation of the floods in Pakistan has affected millions of people. Along with all of you and your families, my family has been watching and hearing of the damage and loss that has come upon the people of Pakistan, yet my 11-year-old son, Arif, seems to be affected more by the devastation than his siblings.

One day last week, Arif sat next to me and said,

"Mom, I really want to do something to help the flood victims in Pakistan.“

Upon hearing his words of concern, we sat down and started to brainstorm on how he could help. We came up with the idea of setting up a table at our local Masjid, the Islamic Center of Long Island (ICLI), Eid Bazaar. We were able to get Designs of Dubai, a local vendor, to donate scarves and shawls to the cause. For every $10 donation, a scarf would be given as a gift.

The anticipation and excitement in my son’s face was priceless, as we began to make preparations for his table. Along with his brothers, Arif made a sign and began organizing the donated scarves.

On Sunday August 28th 2010, with great enthusiasm, Arif set up his table at ICLI’s Eid Bazaar with no help from me. The temperature was 95 degrees but felt more like 102 degrees. Picture an 11 year-old boy, sitting behind a table of hijabs, waiting for buyers to approach, just so he can make a plea for flood victims in Pakistan. As I watched Arif from afar, I couldn't help but be proud of him.

Arif raised $362 that day for the flood victims, but his goal was to raise $1,000 and he was sad for not meeting his goal. When his Aunt Ruia asked him about the experience, Arif seemed a bit disheartened.

Arif and Ruia, brainstormed on how they could raise the rest of the funds in order for Arif to meet his goal. They decided Arif would make a donation box and take it with him to a family iftar the next evening and make his plea for the flood victims.

At the iftar, he was able to raise another $838. Every member of the family was touched by Arif’s concern; So much so that even the other young kids donated whatever money they had in their pockets.

Monday morning, I called Brother Waleed Gabr at Islamic Relief USA’s New Jersey office. I was informed by him that Islamic Relief USA donors would match Arif’s $1200 through the Matching Funds Program. He also informed me of a $50,000 donor-matching fundraising challenge.

Thus far, by the grace of Allah, they have surpassed it and have since raised the goal. Islamic Relief USA donors will match Arif’s $1,200 for the flood victims, making Arifs contribution $2,400. I pray that Allah (swt) accepts my little boy’s efforts and the efforts of all those people who donated to this cause. Ameen.

My son inspired me to do something and I pray that his story inspires you and your kids too, insha’Allah. Please remember your brothers and sisters in Pakistan in this blessed month of Ramadan.

To contribute to the matching funds program, contact

To donate online, click here.

-- Nilo Ahmadzada
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