Fatima Haffejee – Cii News. Pic: Azzuri United (Facebook) – August 3, 2012
Amidst the aroma of freshly baked roti’s, the chaos that comes with shopping in Fordsburg on a Saturday and the cluttered homes neighbouring Johannesburg, lies Madressah Ihsan.
This holistic based centre for people with alternative needs has been running for over four years now and has taken up residence in Crosby for the past 18 months. The house in which the centre is currently operating from has generously been loaned to IHSAN by a community member, rent-free, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Farzaana Bham, one of the founders of IHSAN said that she, “searched for an Islamic environment for Ziyaad (her son who is currently a pupil at IHSAN).There was nothing. No special needs school catered for Muslims.” Thus began the Islamic Holistic Centre for Alternate Needs. In short, IHSAN.
Aimed at providing educational needs to the physically and mentally challenged, the startup of the centre had faced certain challenges for its members. However, constant perseverance, a strong will and the support of the community has seen them through many an arduous time.
This year the school has undergone several developments. Whereas previously maintained by ONE teacher (for both morning and afternoon sessions) there are now FOUR full time teachers as well as a care giver.
The centre is also affiliated with the IMA- Islamic Medical Association. Occupational, physio and speech therapists all volunteer their services and are NDT (Neuro developmentally trained) qualified. Health care, which is an otherwise costly expense, has been made accessible to the students of IHSAN without a price.
In an interview with Zaheera Bham, chairwoman of the Caring Women’s Forum as well as a committee member of IHSAN, she said that the main objective of the centre was, “to provide a much needed service for children and adults with special needs in an Islamic environment.”
Yet, despite the generous hearts of its volunteers, IHSAN still has running costs to maintain. Their fees being structured around affordability makes it difficult for the centre to maintain itself solely on these payments.
Capitalising on the spirit of generosity during the month of Ramadhaan and the desire for surplus reward, soccer players from the Johannesburg based Azzuri United ran a fundraiser last weekend that proved proved an astounding success.
When asked how the event was formulated Zaheera said: “One of the members of Azzuri United contacted CWF to ask about IHSAN. They were familiar with the organisation and what it offered. Realising that we rely on funding to manage operation costs they offered to assist CWF to raise funds for IHSAN.”
But, the Azzuri United players have not wiped their hands just yet. In an attempt to enhance the lives of the physically and mentally challenged, the players have decided to provide mentoring to the students of IHSAN.
Can you imagine their glee?! Being able to spend time with a soccer player of their locality might not seem like much to the rest of us (they’re no Ronaldo or Messi) but to these children the mere thought of it would be enough to have them jumping up and down in enthusiasm for weeks on end.
It doesn’t take ‘world renowned soccer’ players to touch the hearts of many. As Azzuri United have proven.