This week B.C. & Mordant welcome Naser Haghamed, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide. Naser has travelled across 35 countries to help deliver aid where it is needed the most. He shares his insights with our listeners.
Naser spends some time explaining just what it is that Islamic Relief aims to do. In doing so, he debunks some common perceptions, such as the duration of time the organization stays in emergency zones. When Islamic Relief deploys for an emergency, be it a natural or manmade disaster, the organization stays much longer than people would expect. After responding to the emergency, the work continues: rebuilding schools, hospitals—starting over.
“Wherever there is trouble, most probably we are there,” he says, after listing some of the places that he has visited recently: Pakistan, Kashmir, Myanmar, Somalia, and Mosul, Iraq.
Throughout all of his visits, one thing rings true: the people are always grateful. “When you are responding to emergency and disaster, people have almost nothing,” he says. “Anything you give them, they are happy with it.”
In this episode, Naser shares a story of an interaction with one elderly woman from Nepal who told him she had everything she needed. “That was shocking to me,” he says, “because there was nothing there other than the bed, bare floor, and a bit of tent and plastic sheeting. And she was happy with what she had.”
He also shares the challenges of relief work, such as not being able to get support for a cause that is not in the media. “If it’s not in the headlines, we tend to forget,” he says. “We have problems engaging the public because the media is not behind us.”
One prime example is Yemen, a place that is not getting the support or coverage it needs despite the fact that 80% of the population is in need of some sort of humanitarian aid.
Tune in to hear more from Naser and to learn about the important work Islamic Relief is doing all over the world. Most importantly, find out how you can get involved!