After talking with my partners for the school supplies project I received some very exciting news in terms of ways to collect a lot of school supplies. Both of my partners were happy to help me collect supplies and after talking with both the groups I have partnered with it is evident that in particular the Sisters United Muslim Association (SUMA) is going to be an instrumental resource for me and our charity.
Last week I attended the weekly SUMA meeting to discuss our charity with SUMA’s president in person. She was very receptive and excited to work with me to help collect school supplies. I will be giving a presentation to the club this Friday to discuss the goals and origins of our charity so that all the members of SUMA will know the details of our charity and how we got started. Once I have the whole club on board we will move into doing some specific projects to collect donations.
The two greatest resources this club has to offer to our project is their unwavering commitment to charity and the fantastic connections they have within the Muslim community. The president of SUMA suggested specifically that we should utilize connections with local Islamic private schools as a resource to collect supplies. Tampa is home to two Islamic Private schools: the Universal Academy of Florida and the American Youth Academy. Since several SUMA members are graduates from these schools we will use their connections to hold a competition between the grades of the schools to motivate collection of supplies. Whichever grade collects the most supplies wins a pizza party.
The commitment and enthusiasm with which the members of SUMA received my proposal is quite inspiring to me. They really exhibit a profound love for charity and the good it brings to others. In part this is related to their Muslim faith. Becoming part of SUMA has definitely educated me a lot on the religion of Islam of which charity is a large part of the faith. The Qur’an mentions what is known as the “Five Pillars of Islam”. One of these pillars, known as “Zakat” or “almsgiving” involves a commitment to charity and giving away a portion of one’s wealth to others in need. This beautiful principle is widely translatable to individuals of all faiths as well as secular humanists and it has definitely inspired me to work even harder for this charity and the children we benefit.