When you give, you receive: The Kikoneni Experience


The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people then asked: “(But what) if someone has nothing to give, what should he do?” The Prophet replied: “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked: “If he cannot find even that?” He replied: “He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked: “If he cannot do (even) that?” The Prophet said finally: “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and that will be regarded as charitable deeds.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 524

For the past one month, Donge La Mombasa Welfare Group (a CBO based in Mombasa, Kenya, that I am involved in) has been collecting donations in what is officially called the ‘Ramadhan Iftar Donation Appeal’. Set up as a special Ramadhan charity event, the purpose of the donation appeal is to donate food to local orphans and impoverished residents of Mombasa and its surrounding villages during this holy month. Our financial expectations were modest (expecting to receive enough to feed a village one weekend), so we were pleasantly surprised to find that after just few weeks we had collected enough money to feed a village each weekend of the month. Kikoneni, a small and impoverished rural community in Kwale district, was selected to be the first recipient of the Iftar drive. After supplies were purchased (bales of flour, rice, legumes, and oil), Donge members made their way to the remote village. Once there, they were met by the village elders and residents who welcomed them warmly into their community. One by one, the pre-packaged Iftar packages were unloaded and delivered to the doorsteps of the Kikoneni residents.

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The local children were also treated to kid-friendly treats such as biscuits and sweets…..

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After a long day carrying and distributing heavy packages under the hot equatorial sun, the Donge pickup truck was finally empty. Exhausted and disheveled but humbled nonetheless, Donge members bid the Kikoneni villagers goodbye and made their way back to Mombasa.

For the volunteers at Kikoneni, the day turned out to be one that they would not forget in a long time. The feedback that we got back from them was overwhelmingly positive:

“The best experience of my life!”
“I had so much fun; it didn’t feel like work. I also met new people and have established new friendships”
“This was the first time I feel that I spent my pre-Ramadhan celebration (mfungo) wisely…The smiles on people’s faces made me feel like I had accomplished something great”
“Volunteering made me feel grateful for what I already have”
“I hope I have many more opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life”

Donge volunteers lent their hands to help people that could probably never pay them back, but what they got back was infinitely more than what they gave. Kikoneni gave them a sense of joy-a spiritual, mental, and emotional high-that only comes when you dedicate your time, energy, and financial resources to those who are less fortunate than yourself.

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DLMWG has a lot more work to do this Ramadhan, and we hope that the proceeding charity events will be better than the last. About twenty people were present at the last event; we hope the number will double in the next event. If you are interested in making a financial donation or in volunteering your time to feed the needy in Mombasa, please let us know by following the link provided below:
http://anubillu.wix.com/dongelamombasa#!get_involved/c8k2

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