10 March 2008

Facebook Charity Groups: Join Now!

If you haven't heard of Facebook yet, any young person (and even some of our elders!) will be able to show you how to navigate your way through its simple, easy-to-use interface. Facebook is not only having an entertaining role, but it also has a charity and developmental one.

Charity Role
Facebook was launched in 2004 as a university project. Membership was initially restricted to university students only, but slowly the doors were opened to high-school students. University students started inviting those that they liked and thus inevitably made Facebook "the cool university thing"!

With its very public profiles and the famous Facebook wall that seems to host the most private conversations publicly, what is most significant is the obvious influence of Facebook upon Muslim youth? Prophet Muhammad is reported to have stressed the importance of modesty for a believer, and this is probably the most obvious hurdle when navigating a social-networking tool, which has the innate ability to allow one to show off!

But can this tool that may obviously be used for bad be used for good as well? Mohammed Ziyaad Hassen, a young man from South Africa, an active member of the community and has been working in development, charity, and youth work for many years, said that Facebook allows various youth to create awareness around pertinent issues that face their societies.

He has been contacted by many people regarding projects and initiatives they wanted to get involved in or needed more information about. "Many times, even though people are not directly getting involved, they are still notified and informed of community activities or projects that take place," added Hassen.

Islamic Relief Groups
Islamic Relief Worldwide is an international relief and development organization. A search on Facebook yields many Facebook groups for the different Islamic Relief offices all over the world.

The Islamic Relief US group reminds us of their mission: To alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide regardless of color, race, religion, or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. In fact, Islamic Relief groups with growing youth memberships, whether in South Africa, all over the UK, the US, and other places .

The Islamic Relief South Africa group, set up by country director Cassiem Khan, is geared toward creating dialogue and advocacy around the issues that face not only Muslim youth in South Africa, but also broader issues such as the role of communities in the development perspective.

Hassen, who works with Islamic Relief - South Africa, recently returned from a relief mission to Mozambique, following recent floods in the area. They distributed emergency relief kits to a community on a remote island in northern Mozambique. The community living on the island are isolated from the rest of society and any viable economy.

Hassen has loaded pictures of his trip and documented an account of his experiences on the
Islamic Relief - South Africa Facebook group. says that after posting the pictureson Facebook, the response that he received was fascinating.

He added, "Many friends whom I thought had no interest in relief or development now expressed interest. Many others sent messages asking about the trip. It shows that the younger generations just need to be more exposed to the issues that contribute to poverty and the lack of development."

Benefits
As a social-networking utility, Facebook allows communication and interaction to take place on a virtual platform. An increasing amount of young professionals and youth are able to network and share ideas, thoughts, and opportunities.Many non-profit organizations, like Islamic Relief, are active with groups and causes, which is great as it allows one to receive information and updates about activities and projects undertaken.

Facebook can and has proven to be an effective tool for reaching out to future generations. A difference can be made as it transcends space and creates a platform that did not previously exist.
The challenge for the youth is to use Facebook in a way that benefits rather than allowing it to consume precious time. It is a superb opportunity for Muslim youth around the world to discuss ideas and projects in order to develop society.

So go on, next time Hassen or someone else sends you an invite to join some community project or attend an event, at least forward the invites to all your Facebook friends, even those you don't even know!

This first appeared on IslamOnLine.net

2 comments:

almira said...

That is really good that Facebook is hosting those programs, but the only probaly I have with Facebook is I just do not know how to navigate it like myspace.

Anyways, good post brother.

almira said...

Sorry I meant to write problem not probably