Baramulla’s unique charitable organization has made a name for itself. Inam Ul Haq reports on the men behind the mission. On a chilly afternoon in 1999, perhaps around the beginning of Chilaikalaan, a few like-minded friends from Baramulla, distressed by ‘social evils and degrading values’ met in a dilapidated room to find a way out.
These ten men in their mid-20s decided to provide moral and religious teachings to young men and women of their town. But soon, they realized that only “preaching” isn’t enough.
“There are widows with small kids with no means to feed them. How can we preach morality when people have empty stomachs? These people get forced into different kind of evils and wrongdoings. So we decided to contribute from our own pockets and help them first,” said Suhail Ahmad Kar.
These thoughts eventually led Kar and his friends to form The Idarah Falahudarien with the aim to build an ideal Islamic society – honest and charactered – in Baramulla.
“Our community has appreciated us for this small effort of ours, and youth have especially been volunteering themselves for this benevolent cause,” said Kar, who is a founding member of the organization and a government employee by profession.
With more than 200 volunteers, Falahudarien now distributes more than 5 million rupees per year to the needy and destitute of Baramulla town.
Presently, Falahudarien is providing financial assistance to more than 250 families per month; helping unemployed youth set up their own income-generating units and provide basic housing facilities for the houseless families of the town. The organization also generates awareness about the menace of drug addiction and provides a helping hand to the poor parents in marrying their daughters.
Falahudarien, a social and welfare organisation, has a different modus operandi, which is not just providing money or one-time support to a destitute family. Idarah does not even run an orphanage, rather it provides need-based support, said Fayaz Ahmad Mir, president of the organisation. It has a wing of Mawneen (supporters). Each Mawin, assigned to a Mohallah, goes to each needy family, discuss with them and assesses the need of every month and provides help accordingly.
“It is a sustained effort. We help orphans or poor children for their complete schooling even until they reach university level,” said Mir. “Their tuition fees, books, uniform or any other expenditure is provided until they need it. We have some students who qualified state competitive exams, NET (National Eligibility Test) and JRF (Junior Research Fellowship).”
Some of the students whom Idarah supported are now working at good positions and are now giving back to the organisation. “They volunteer, and some have even become monthly contributors, making Idarah feel proud,” said Mir.
The organisation has laid down strict principles for raising funds and utilising them. “We do not accept any aid from government, NGO or any other body,” said Zahoor Ahmad Dar, who heads the social work wing. “Our all income is based on the donations of the people of the town who want to help the poor and needy. But all the expenses needed on managing the office, its rent and other expenses related to office and volunteers is paid by the volunteers from their own pocket and not a single penny from donors money is spend on that. No office bearer is paid all people work on voluntary basis.”
To maintain the transparency and accountability, organisation audits the accounts by a charted accountant every year. Besides all the monthly income and expenditure are put on the organisation’s website: www.falahudarian.org.
Though describing Falahudarien as an Islamic center, Mir said, the help provided is purely on humanitarian basis without taking religion into consideration. “We help any person of the town in the need, whether he be a Muslim, Sikh, Hindu or a Christian. And we do not have any missionary motives,” he added.
To eradicate the menace of drug addiction, Falahudarien is holding regular awareness campaigns. Identifies drug addicts and provide them counselling. “We have registered more than 400 drug addicts. We provide them counselling and medicine and take them to district de-addiction center. At least100 people have left using drugs with our help,” said a volunteer, Iqbal Hafiz Ganai, who is doing his Ph.D. at SKUAST.
Ganai said that organisation also organises blood donation camps, provides career counselling to students and conducts general knowledge test every year. Besides a yearly Seerat conference, Falahudarien conduct many conferences to discuss modern day problems and issues. It also publishes a bi-monthly magazine, Tazkeer, to impart moral and religious education among youngsters.
The next goal for the organisation is to establish a state of art Islamic Research Center to conduct research on complicated issues in Islam surfaced due to modernity and technology. Land for that has been already acquired and construction of the building is going on.