We have a guest contribution from Farihah Mridha. Farihah Mridha is an undergrad studying Pre-Medicine at New York University. She became more Islamically aware during her junior year of high school, when she became more involved in her high school’s MSA, Muslim Student Association. This inspired her to seek out more knowledge of the religion, as well as to become involved in NYU’s Islamic Center, a place that showed hew that the religion is not only about prayer and practice, but giving back as well.
“This starved little girl was crawling around the African soil in search of any source of water or food, while a vulture followed her around, in hopes to have found his own source of food,” said Imam Khalid Latif, a Chaplain at New York University. This is the reality for many young children in East Africa. In countries such as Somalia and Ethiopia, these young children go on their biggest hunt of the day to find something that is a human’s most basic need, and something people living in other countries such as the U.S. take for granted — water. On average, a child dies every 20 seconds from a water related disease. That’s 4,320 children dying each day from the lack of something as common in the U.S. as water.
The ISA, the Islamic Student Association at New York University, recently held their 10 th annual Fast-a-thon. During the last day of the Fast-a-thon campaign, participants fast for the day and donate their food money to help build wells — you starve for a day so someone else doesn’t have to. Led this year by senior Zain Memon and sophomore Fatima Kamrun, students from the ISA, the Muslim community in and around the school, and several other organizations collaborated to help build three wells in East Africa, each of which could serve up to 3,000 people. Through their myriad of bake sales, a Waterdrop campaign (a spin-off of McDonald’s Helping Hands), and a carnival, the students raised over $13,000. And on the night of September 20th, 2012, they held the annual dinner for the Fast-a-thon. Keynote speaker Ibrahim Abdul-Matin was joined by other speakers and performers from East Africa and NYU’s own Khalid Latif in informing the audience about the severity of the water epidemic. By the end of the night, through the cumulative efforts of the attendees, over $17,000 was raised, covering the three wells and more.
Although the ISA’s ultimate goal of three three wells was reached, these people, these young children, these infants need more help. They need water. Three wells may help thousands of people, but there are still many others struggling to live life without water. On average, each America uses over 160 gallons of water a day, whereas a family in East Africa uses five. Solutions are clear — every drop counts. Will you be the one to complete the next well?