Ramadan Appeal, For urgent family assistance.
By Dawood Zwink
former TMO staff member
“If you save the life of even one person, it will be as if you have saved the life of all of humanity.” Qur’an 5:32
Update: As events have progressed, we are able to add information. We now have confirmation that the family’s mother and father are both Muslims. So, by responding to this humanitarian appeal, we are able to help recover separated family members.
Original story: This is a story, or more accurately a saga or journey. It started in October of 2022. I was shopping for groceries at a local outlet when I was approached by a young lady who asked for some assistance. She was shopping with her sister for
food, clothes and some medicine for their children who had come down with flu symptoms. Alhamdullilah, I cautiously agreed to help.
They contacted me again in December seeking additional help after receiving an unexpected call from back home. They said they did not know anyone else to ask for help. Their father had suffered a heart attack and needed emergency lifesaving surgery in Bucharest, Romania.
So, the sisters took a hard decision. The youngest would return with her sister’s 14-year-old son, and her 4 younger children to take care of their father’s recovery, in sha Allah. May Allah bless her. This was an extremely tough decision after she had struggled so hard to get to Canada. Again, I personally covered the travel money for the trip back with the children including a 5-month-old daughter, and $3,100 US for home repairs.
The family home is in Suceava which is close to the border of Moldova and Ukraine. It was in poor repair, without heat, water, indoor toilet or shower facilities.
The oldest son also needed dental surgery. He was living in constant pain because of exposed roots. He could not stay in Canada long enough to have immigration have help here in GTA. The family had already successfully made application for refugee status, but Allah had other plans. When requested, brothers from the Mississauga Muslim community helped gather the $5,000 USD needed for the dental work.
The family made the trip back and the father’s surgery was successfully completed at the Bucharest Hospital. Regarding his post op care, their first option was to rent a place in Bucharest and pay for nursing care. That expense would have been higher than either the family or I could afford.
So, he needed to return to the family home in Suceava, Romania, to survive the winter months. To give him support, the family group traveled back to Romania while the oldest sister remained behind with her other two children to maintain a toehold in Canada.
In Romania, the youngest daughter took care of nursing her father’s recovery, home repairs, the dental work, and did home cleaning for a neighbor to buy diapers and food for her baby because of the high cost of those items.??Then, while doing the cleaning, she lifted something heavy which caused a herniated disc in her spine. In excruciating pain, she went to the doctor who informed her that she needed urgent lifesaving surgery. I covered the costs for her personally, along with her extended recovery time in the hospital. She is back home now.??Then a new crisis arose. Romania is one of the poorest countries in Europe.
The extended family consists of the two sisters approximately 31 and 28 years of age who have three children and four children respectively. They are estranged members of one of the ethnic minority groups in Romania that have endured persecution and slavery in Europe for hundreds of years and were targeted for extermination by Hitler in World War II.
They filed for refugee status in Canada. But to originally bring the whole family group, their only option was to take a private loan of $40,000 US from a neighbor in Romania. She now demanded repayment in full, plus $10,000 interest. I have helped with the payment of $20,000. The $10,000 interest claim has been dropped. Now we are under extreme pressure and urgently looking for funds to pay the remaining $20,000 as soon as possible, to avoid unpleasant consequences.??Here are additional important details. Their mother was a Muslim of Pakistani origin. She died very shortly after the birth of her second daughter, who still agonizes over the loss. All of the family members have endured constant racial prejudice and discrimination.
There are probably more damaging details that I am unaware of, however I know that the youngest sister was bullied and threatened with sexual violence in the sixth grade. And now, her 9-year-old daughter has just experienced bullying at school and doesn’t want to continue her studies in Suceava.??The family’s objective is to avoid trafficking, especially of the three youngest daughters, and to survive dire circumstances in Romania long enough to save money for the air tickets back to Canada for a second time. Their dream is to eventually have a business of their own here in the Greater Toronto Area.
We are requesting your urgent assistance in meeting this need for $20,000 USD to immediately pay off the loan.
(Update: with the start of Ramadan, we have received $2,050 CN of the $20,000 US needed.) The neighbor lady who made the critical loan is now under heavy pressure from her husband to secure immediate full payment. The Canadian based sister is receiving demanding calls and enduring intense pressure. Ramadan generosity and kindness is this family’s greatest hope.
They meet the requirements needed to be zakat eligible at this auspicious time of the year in four categories: 1. Poor and indigent, 2. The needy, 3. Bringing the heart close to Islam, and 4. Those in debt. We ask for your prayers and financial support. Please donate and help us spread the word to others.
Ramadan Appeal – send checks to:
P.O. Box 4598
Carolstream, IL 60197-9924
Memo – acct# 104661292