Hyderabad,Syed Khaled Shahbaaz: A widow is no less than a destitute in an impoverished society, especially the young who are subject to occasional jeering in addition to being blatantly ignored by the society they live in. Without money – and in most cases – food and shelter, they have nowhere to go. Those with young children – innocently incognizant of their mother’s suffering – are coerced to do menial chores to survive the whip.
Many of them work as maid, baby sit for the privileged. But even that wouldn’t suffice. Others wait for a blessing, helplessly losing their sheen, watching their hair turn grey as they lose the best years of life in despair.
In the twin states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, it is of considerable importance that 95 such widows and helpless destitute women had been given a second chance. In all humanitarian spirit, the Hyderabad Zakat and Charitable Trust materialized the idea. These widows are married now, and by survey stats, most of them are living happily.
Chairman of the trust and a noted philanthropist Ghiasuddin Babukhan says, “It was extremely difficult to convince these widows for a re-marriage. We had to morally counsel them to ward off their reluctance and help them overcome the past. It was very painstaking but worth every effort.”
“Nothing can be more sufficing for a widow than a re-marriage”, he humbly adds.
His son Salman Babukhan secretly funds scholarships of deserving school students spending about 1 crore in donations every year.
While there are handful of other organizations like HZCT, their provisions are confined to monetary aid, and do not usually magnify to such empathy. The trust spent nearly 20.86 lakhs in widow remarriages this year, and helped organize marriages of 10,768 poor girls under the government’s ‘Shaadi Mubarak’ scheme.
Trustee Ziauddin Nayyar says, “Widows deserve to live better. Our effort is to make things easier by all means we can”, adding that “it is the lifeblood of HZCT, and our volunteers do it with great zest”.
Director of Minorities Welfare department Jalaluddin Akbar believes that “charitable organizations play a very important role in cleansing the slums off poverty and illiteracy”. Department’s Special Secretary Omer Jaleel says, “Zakat should reach the deserving and the impoverished people and it is the moral duty of the benefactors to ensure that Zakat is distributed through trusted channels,” revering the donations as a noble and puritan endeavour.
The trust also observes this year as its Silver Jubilee and has reportedly spent over 9.5 crore rupees to aid 1,28,641 people in 2014-15 alone.
With its canopy reaching more widows, orphans and the deserving in weaker sections and neglected pockets of the society, nearly 25000 students – aided by its sister organization – Foundation for Education and Economic Development (FEED) chaired by Abdul Aleem Khan, will someday likely credit the trust for providing them a life changing opportunity: empowerment through education.
In times when moral consciences are withering in love of accumulating material wealth, trusts that genuinely spend more than they receive in donations continue to be helping hands.
(The writer is a Hyderabad based techie-turned-journalist.)