“Three out of ten Urban Muslims are poor i.e. ofﬁcially come below the poverty line living on a monthly income of Rs 550 and less,” highlights, T Arif Ali, General Secretary, Human Welfare Foundation (HWF). He discusses in detail about the activities of HWF which is working towards the upliftment of the poor irrespective of their caste, religion and race.
Please tell us about Human Welfare Foundation.
The aim behind establishing the foundation was to carry out humanitarian and development programs to ﬁght poverty and people’s sufferings by working in partnership with vulnerable communities regardless of their faith, caste, gender or political beliefs. It was established by a group of eminent community leaders in 2006 and is now one of India’s leading non-governmental organizations.
HWF mission is to help the poor and those in need to live sustainable, self-reliant lives within safe and caring communities. Our work is guided and shaped by the core values of accountability, humanitarianism, neutrality and impartiality, inclusiveness, integrity and co-operation, all of which are also integral to our faith.
HWF acts as an umbrella body with several distinguished and experienced community leaders on its board of trustees. It has over 200 local partners spread over 20 states, implementing 4774 projects. The number of beneﬁciaries so far is well above 9 million.
Please highlight the services provided by this organization.
The Foundation is engaged in helping people with little or no resources. It strives to serve the poor and deprived sections of the society by providing them basic amenities like education, healthcare, food and shelter that equip individuals to become equal partners in the progress of the nation. We also help the sufferers of calamities to move towards a world free from hunger, ignorance, deprivation and exploitation. HWF is aimed at reaching the grassroots with distinct preference for depressed and disadvantaged sections, enabling them to attain all that a common citizen cherishes.
The Human Welfare Foundation (HWF), along with its partners, is primarily focusing on following fronts: Education, Health Care, Economic Empowerment, Interest Free Microfinance, Orphan Care, Grameen Dosti (Development of Villages), Women Empowerment, Water & Sanitation, Community Development, Relief & Rehabilitation, etc.
What is the strength of the organization – number of members globally and in Middle East?
The HWF acts as an umbrella body with several distinguished and experienced community leaders on its Board of Trustees. At present there are 19 members as Board of Trustees. It has over 200 local partner associations / institutions spread over 20 states of India, implementing 4774 projects. Though the Foundation has no individual membership but it has its well-wishers in the Gulf region and other countries. Moreover, HWF has hundreds of thousands of volunteers spread all over India who extend their physical and moral
support at the time of any disaster and calamity that occurs.
What have been the challenges faced since inception? How close is the Foundation towards achieving its goals?
The challenge before Human Welfare Foundation (HWF) since its inception in 2006 was how to bring a sustainable change in the socio-economic status of the Muslims and other deprived communities of India. It was decided to focus on the poorest and most marginalized social groups living in the poorest of India’s states with the objective of closing the gaps between the two Indias.
A report by National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has brought to light some astonishing ﬁgures, according to which three out of ten Urban Muslims are poor i.e. ofﬁcially come below the poverty line living on a monthly income of Rs 550 and less. The rural Muslims are more troubled as they are further down the scale. One in ﬁve rural Muslims comes below poverty line. The condition of Dalits and Adivasis are equally vulnerable. According to the Kundu Committee report, Muslims continue to be left out of both government jobs and the urbanization wave. Moreover, the basic advantages of a better sex ratio and higher birth weight have been wasted due to a lack of health facilities in areas dominated by Muslims and a high school drop-out rate. In this backdrop, Human Welfare Foundation has devised a strategy of Inclusive and sustainable change.
The last ten years we have focused on the North and North East states of India where extreme poverty largely resides today. But the goals that we adopted under Vision 2016 plan are far from being accomplished. Even back then it was envisaged that the ﬁrst ten years program period will be a time slice of a much longer period – 20 years? 30 years? and even more – that will be needed to accomplish the goals of the program.
This plan therefore continues (Vision 2026) along the path laid out in the ﬁrst plan but with some important modiﬁcations. Based on the learning from the ﬁrst program, we are also modifying our approach by aiming to engage with a wider cross-section of the public to build a larger supporter and donor base. We will also be aiming to build many more types of partnerships so that we can leverage our work and become more beneﬁcial collectively in order to achieve the very ambitious goals and targets that we have set out for ourselves for the coming ten years.
Please highlight the achievements of Vision 2016 vis-a-vis the set targets?
In 2006, Human Welfare Foundation (HWF) launched a 10-year Rs 55 billion ($125 million) action plan named “Vision 2016” to create educational, health and housing facilities to improve the situation of poor Muslims in India. Its first phase focused on 58 backward districts in India where it planned to establish health care centres, schools, vocational training centres, small-scale industries and low-cost housing and provide soft loans for small-scale trade and other ventures.
Checklist Vision 2016
The “Vision 2016” served the purpose of humanity and the Almighty as well. It was dedicated towards going beyond charity by enabling people to the optimum levels resulting in a society having peace, prosperity and justice for all.
- It aimed at enabling the ‘have-nots’ to access to resources for a total change in their lives and hence promotes the country to step into a new world.
- It tried to help people meet their social and spiritual needs by their own efforts.
- It strived to build trust and relationship with the needy people whose prosperity and security are ever at stake.
- The program tried to provide with the needs of the day when one-thirds of country’s population is hard to meet the basic amenities for its survival.
- It was all about total uplift of the Indian society with a view to vertical mobility of every individual and group of people.
- Up thrust areas of the program were Education, Healthcare, Micro Finance, Civil Rights and Women Empowerment. Target beneﬁciaries were deﬁned by outcome of the Sanchar Committee Report, i.e. Indian minorities. But our focus was on minorities residing in northern half of the country i.e. from Assam to Gujarat.
Human Welfare Foundation coordinates with various NGOs in India under the umbrella of the Human Welfare
Trust (HWT) like: 1) the Ideal Relief Wing (IRW), 2) Islamic Relief Committee (IRC) and 3) Tamil Nadu Relief Committee (TNRC).The IRW was an active participant in the rescue efforts during the Kashmir earthquake spending almost $200,000 for the relief work and also played an important role in the relief efforts in the aftermath of the Asian Tsunami and the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The TNRC built 38 houses for victims of the Asian Tsunami in Tamil Nadu at a total cost of Rs 12.5 million. It also built 160 permanent houses at Nagore, Pudupattinam and Kottakuppam and provided livelihood assistance to hundreds of families in those areas.
Please share the details of Vision 2026 and strategy adopted to achieve the same.
In 2005, Human Welfare Foundation embarked upon a highly consultative process that lasted almost one year to assess how to bring a sustainable change in the socio-economic status of the Muslims and other deprived communities of India. Under its ﬂagship project Vision 2016, it was decided to focus on the poorest and most marginalized social groups living in the poorest of India’s states with the objective of closing the gaps between the two Indias. The last ten years we have focused on the North and North East states of India where extreme poverty largely resides today. But the goals that we adopted under Vision 2016 plan are far from accomplished.
This plan (Vision 2026) therefore continues along the path laid out in the ﬁrst plan but with some important modiﬁcations. Based on the learning from the ﬁrst program, we are also modifying our approach by aiming to engage with a wider cross-section of the public to build a larger supporter and donor base. And we will also be aiming to build many more types of partnerships so that we can leverage our work and become more beneﬁcial collectively in order to achieve the very ambitious goals and targets that we have set out for ourselves for the coming ten years.
Through the Vision 2026 program, we aim to create a just and harmonious society where everybody shares and cares for the poor, unprivileged and exploited people and make our society a better place to live in.
About T Arif Ali: T. Arif Ali is an Islamic Scholar from Kerala, India. He is a Member of Kerala Waqf Board and Chairman, Media One TV Channel. He was the Ameer-e-Halqa (State President) of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Kerala chapter from 2005 March to May 2015. A teacher by profession T. Arifali has served in various positions including those of S.I.O state president, member of Central Consultative Committee, Nazim of Calicut District and the member of State Hajj Committee. He was Amir of Jama’ate Islami Hindi Kerala Chapter during the period March 2005 to May 2015. He has travelled extensively in Arab countries. Besides being the General Secretary, HWF, he is also on various committee and board of charitable organisations.
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