Charity, Charity, Charity & Ramadan
So it's finally here. For me, it involved 8 weeks of prep time (practice fasts and Ramadan-related work) and lots of planning for taking a solitary break towards the end of Ramadan.
Now that we are one day into it, I've realised just how addicted I am to coffee - something my practice fasts just didn't seem to have picked up on! By 2pm, it felt like I had an entire clan of woodpeckers (or should I say brainpeckers) inside my skull. By 6pm, I was contemplating on performing a medieval trepanning surgery on myself. But alas, 8.54pm came...I rushed to the kettle and the medicine box...and by taraweeh time, the woodpeckers left.
So this Ramadan, it will be about kicking addictions (or at least, reducing them).
Another thing I am quite keen on this Ramadan is charity. Yes yes, charity is the cornerstone of British Muslims' Ramadan Culture - with the 1001 charity messages that pollute your day, it's hard not to donate. Right?
Wrong. For the past few years, I've always managed to avoid the mad rush (well, at least on the most part). Given that Zakat isn't obligatory on me, I wasn't compelled by the images and messages from the big charities (local mosques are a different matter - had to give them money for their brilliant taraweeh services!). But over the past few months, working very closely with a few Muslim charities, I have entered this Ramadan with a different perspective.
This year, I will donate to a charity. This year, I am committed.
Over the last few days, I've received no less than 5 letters, 14 emails and been exposed to dozens of tweets and facebook messages from charities, all screaming the same tune: "Donate to our Orphans Programme, Donate to our Iftar Project, Donate to save your soul"...but after a few calls, an hour or two of googling and with the generous aid of a calculator, it seems that all of those charities (bar a few) tend to keep anything between 6-14% of our donations for their admin costs.
That's perfectly understandable - you can't help the poor if you don't have money to spend on fundraising, but why not just tell people (or make it easy for us to find it?).
Given that everyone else will be trying to get their money to the needy this year - some searching out those very few "100% to the needy" charities, others simply relying on brand loyalty - I've decided that I'm going to support the administration costs of a "100% to the needy" charity.
If I were to start sponsoring a family abroad, I'd go for someone that will deliver my entire donation to the people I want it to go to. So, until that day comes, I need these "100% to the needy" charities to survive!
So, after a few coin tosses to decide on the amount of my donation, I've decided that coin tossing isn't going to answer my question! - Upon a friend's suggestion, I'll instead be donating 10% of my total expenses this month (yep, expenses, not income)!
So wish me luck! (and pray that I don't spend too much this month)
And if anyone else wants to follow suit, check out Families Relief - my chosen charity (or if you jump right in, simply text "FRUK44 £3" to 70070 to donate £3 to them).