Despite the continuing restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chaguanas East MP Fazal Karim says charity is still taking place across T&T during the holy month of Ramadan.

As Muslims worldwide adapt to the effects created by the virus, Karim said, “We must accept that there is a big gap when we observed that a few months without the existing work pattern, we saw a large part of our country going hungry.”

He said, “It is better to teach people how to do something themselves than to just do it for them.” He explained this expression is just part of the full proverb that “if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”

Partnering with civil society to bring this to reality, Karim said Sadaqatul Fitr is a charity applicable during Ramadan that allows every Muslim an opportunity to experience giving charity.

It is a mandatory requirement on all the faithful to contribute to the needy before this auspicious period comes to an end.

This contribution is intended to be timely enough so that the recipients can enjoy the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and must be given before the celebration so that all can participate in this global festival.

Joining hands with his Muslim compatriots to achieve this, Karim partnered with several Imams on the rearing of chickens, rearing of Talapia, and planting short-term crops that would mature within three to four weeks to provide a meal.

He said, “With the right investment and management, a family in need can access food in a reasonable time.”

“The start-up requires a very small capital injection, a weekly site visit by the faith-based organisations (FBOs) and our field agents. The return on investment (ROI) speaks to an unending cycle of self-sustainability from each person’s own backyard once they are taught properly and get the initial support.”

Delighting in the positive returns they were not reaping from the initiative, the former Tertiary Education minister added, “We are usually judged by how we manage the most vulnerable amongst us.”

“As MP, I am ready to be scrutinised, to be judged by the public and private sectors because I have been well-grounded and my results are measurable. People are demanding effective leadership, tangible and practical results, and forging partnerships with the ones who likewise, believe in bringing relief to the vulnerable that will yield success”

He said the global challenges of today were demanding so much more than a single handout.

Requiring persons to think outside the box, Karim said although hamper drives were undertaken, it is short lived and thus, he embraced the opportunity to work with the religious stakeholders.

Reminding the Muslim community that they were mandated to give zakaat and other charities as part of the faith, Karim reaffirmed his commitment to hold the hands of the most vulnerable and walk them to the finish line.