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Black and blue

What would you do if the one you trust and love the most, turns his back on you?

Farhana* had been married for a few years when she sadly began to realise that the love she once shared with her husband had turned into sessions of curses followed by beatings from him. Her once protective and loving husband now beat her up on a daily basis, blaming her on little things that irritated him.

“They (your wives) are your garment, and you are a garment for them” (2:187)

Her nightmare became worse day by day. She began to be threatened by him quite frequently, with daily beatings not being uncommon. Living on the outskirts of New South Wales and only being able to speak in Arabic, the insecurity and loneliness often made her feel suicidal. She knew that she could end the marriage by filing for a divorce, but then again, what will she do next? She hardly knew anyone in her immediate community! She thought it would be uncommon for Muslim couples to go through a divorce and the fear of the local Muslim community not understanding her was something that was preventing her from taking any action.

Will the community believe her or her husband?

Better and stronger

Farhana* came to NZF around mid-January through her friend’s referral, when the abuse turned really bad. She needed temporary accommodation away from her previous home for her protection, and some basic needs to help her back on her feet. She got a divorce late January and is currently fending for herself in terms of trying to earn some money to make ends meet. Being a single woman, foreign to a country she once had high hopes in, she was falling into depression before she met the NZF team.

NZF organised for a secure temporary home for her. A caseworker was assigned Farhana to care for her until she was mentally better to look after herself. She received counselling, food vouchers and support to participate in self-building seminars to build up her confidence.

Alhamdulillah, she is now a stronger and more positive woman. After everything she went through, we can safely say that Farhana is a survivor. We pray that with her past behind her, this is now a new chapter in Farhana’s life, made possible through your help!

Local Zakat for Local Needs. Keep an eye out in your community for more people in need such as Farhana and refer them to us!

*Names and identities have been altered to protect privacy.

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Sofa

Couch Surfing – Sounds like fun?

Couch surfing. The term means different things to different people. For 5 year old Christina it meant looking for a different place to live every second day. Since she was 5, Christina was no stranger to being in and out of refuges, foster care, living on the streets, begging for a place to sleep, abusing drugs and more. But over the years some things had changed. Christina became Fathima, and she was now, 17 years old, Alhamdulillah.

With Islam, Fathima got rid of the drugs in her life. Coming from a family with a history of drug abuse, this was not easy. However she now had a new challenge – most foster homes / refuge centres were not were supporting of her living with them as a Muslim! She was also now beyond the age to receive assistance from FACS and was struggling to get on the Centrelink system.

When Fathima was referred to NZF, we worked with her to get a long term Muslim support worker and a Muslim family to stay with for in the interim. We paid for her lodging and other expenses and helped her get onto Centrelink. Fathima has now found accommodation for herself, is on Centrelink and is able to support herself with the Centrelink Allowance, Alhamdulillah.

Know someone like Fathima? Get in touch with us today so we can assist!

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Is life really better here? – Rabia’s story

Rabia looks around her. The clean air, the birds chirping, the absence of gun-fire. Alhamdulillah she had made it to Australia along with her husband and 4 kids. They had made it out of Syria to the land of promises – Australia.

But it wasn’t easy. Abdullah is now disabled, in bed and needs medical attention. Everything here is very expensive. They said the government would pay for everything, but they barely covered the rent for her 1 bedroom apartment.

Rabia looks at Abdullah again. He seems peacefully asleep. A feeling of despair comes over her. Where is she going to find the funds to help Abdullah get the medical attention he needs?

How is she going to single-handedly look after her 4 kids in a new country?

She doesn’t even speak English. She thinks they might have been better off in Syria, but then she remembers how her family was tortured. The trauma. Surely, this is a better place for her family.

It’s up to Rabia to make this work. Rabia will rise up and face the challenge insha Allah.

NZF is now assisting Rabia with regular payments to alleviate the financial stress the family is going through, while at the same time assisting Rabia with culturally appropriate counselling and helping her get her kids into school.

Help Rabia . Support NZF. Using your Zakat to help those in need locally.

Click here to pay your Zakat today.

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Life’s ups & downs – Ahmed’s story

Life is going well.

You have a senior executive position at one of Australia’s leading organisations. 6 figure salary, 5 kids, you don’t have much to complain about.
You look back 20 years ago and it sends shivers down your spine. Alcohol, drugs, a broken marriage, off the path of Islam … your life was not always this good. You recollect the days you spent in rehab when the doctor told you that you only had a short life left; when you had time to reflect; the spark that started your journey back to Islam.

Things started improving when you dropped the drugs, the alcohol and started praying. You had the occasional break down every now and then but you picked up a career, got yourself a job, got married to Amaal and together you had 5 beautiful kids.

And then the discrimination started at work; the bullying; the harassment.

You couldn’t take it any longer. You quit. Things started getting rocky with you and Amaal. She divorces you. She takes the kids. You get desperate. You run out of money. You are in debt.
All of a sudden you’re all alone. No job. No family. No money. In your little dark place.

This could be your story!

Ahmed was lucky that Allah showed him NZF. We are currently assisting Ahmed in setting up his own business utilizing skills he already has so he can sustain himself in the long term and turn his life around.

Help Ahmed. Support NZF. Using your Zakat to help those in need locally.

Click here to pay your Zakat today.

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Reunited

Amina is re-united with believed-to-be-dead mother after 45 years!

This is a real story, here in Australia that will truly make you reflect on the Qadr set out for us by Allah.

Meet Amina – married & a mother of 4, living her life in Syria with her family. The area she was living in was bombed with her house among those that were destroyed to rubbles. As many Syrian families now do, they go through the rubble to gather important documents and possessions they may need if they decide to escape the persecution. After this latest attack, Amina and her family had decided to seek refuge in any country that may accept them. With this in mind, they started digging up all their possessions.

They found two things that would change their lives forever

  • An Australian birth certificate (for Amina).
  • Her deceased father’s Australian passport with her details included.

Amina had no idea she was born in Australia. As far as she could remember, her mother had died when she was young, and she was an only child brought up by her single father in Syria. What she just found changed everything. Her friends advised her to get in touch with the Australian embassy who confirmed she was an Australian citizen, and were able to organise for the required paperwork for herself and her children to fly to Australia. Amina’s dream journey had begun.

But it didn’t stop there.

Allah just took away the pain of choosing a country to move to, but Amina still had no idea what to do. She got in touch with Syrian associations in Australia who in turn got in touch with the National Zakat Foundation who were happy to assist in receiving Amina and 3 of her kids and helping them settle down. It is what we do after all!

Our processes were followed and Amina was assigned an NZF caseworker who made appropriate accommodation arrangements and went to receive Amina at the airport. It was pretty routine – Amina was overwhelmed by how easy Allah made it for her to leave Syria and was provided with the immediate support she needed in Australia and she couldn’t have asked for anything more.

But it still didn’t stop there.

As our case worker was making conversation with Amina, asking about her family etc. the topic of Amina’s mother came up. Our case worker was interested in attempting to find out if there were members of her mother’s family here in Australia that would perhaps be able to assist Amina and with the details on Amina’s birth certificate she set about to call a few people & organisations to make some enquiries.
She couldn’t have expected what she found.

Not only did she manage to trace Amina’s mother – but she found that she was in fact not dead and very much alive!

Her mum refused to believe her daughter was alive and here in Australia (and in fact in the same city!) and wanted to meet her straight away! The emotions that followed were a roller coaster. They didn’t speak the same language but the tears and their expressions spoke for each other. Pieces of the story were put together and Amina found out that her father had taken her and moved to Syria shortly after her birth in Australia 45 years ago. That was the last her mother had seen or heard of her. Amina’s father wanted his wife to come with him to Syria, but she had refused and hence he told Amina that her mother had died. Amina’s mother had never forgotten her daughter and in fact had a photo of hers up on the wall to this day! (See below)
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At NZF, we are truly humbled by the journey that Allah takes us in helping those who are needy right here in our backyard. We pray that we are able to continue to assist Amina and her family to settle down in Australia and that her husband is re-united with her as soon as possible (He is currently still in Syrian as he is not Australian but is undergoing the required paperwork and will be here soon inshaAllah). NZF have assisted with getting Amina’s kids enrolled in schools, getting her set up through Centrelink, Medicare and other required systems in Australia and by the Will of Allah will also assist with identifying ways in which she can work and earn for her family!

While there are many difficult and unfortunate cases we are involved in, Allah shows us the silver lining every now and then through cases such as Amina’s!

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In adversity is strength – Ayesha’s story

When Ayesha applied for assistance with NZF, her profile was one we sadly see quite often.

A revert, subject to domestic violence and now a divorcee and left to fend for herself often with no employment, housing or friends.

But Ayesha was different. She had a plan, a clear goal of where she wanted to be, and how she wanted NZF to help.

Ayesha inspired us.

Despite having accommodation woes (she was living in a house that is not even built properly), being unable to pay the nominal rent of $700 a month at times, being asked to vacate by the landlord twice and still on a waiting list for housing commission accommodation, Ayesha was not going to sit around doing nothing & being depressed. She wanted to study. She wanted to work. And that’s exactly what she did.

She requested NZF to assist with some of her debt and her rent so she wouldn’t need to worry about it and instead focussed her attention on studying and finding a casual job.

With NZF supporting her, Ayesha has now finished studying and she is off Centrelink with a permanent job.

This is how through NZF YOU help turn lives around.

Feedback from Ayesha

“This is Ayesha. Last time NZF paid for my rent. Alhmadulillah. I (now) have a part time permanent job, I’ve finished school and I am off Centrelink! Jzkh for the support. I really appreciate it!!”

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Sister Samira makes dua for all of you

“May Allah reward you for this. From my whole family thank you.”

A simple dua. Made by one of the sisters we assisted here in Australia, someone who was wronged.
Why is that a big deal to us and why should it be a big deal to you?

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) Said “There are three whose dua will not be rejected: a just ruler, a fasting person until he breaks the fast, and the prayer of the one who has been wronged.”

Would you not want to assist someone, who will make dua for you? Allahu Akbar what a beautiful religion Islam is.

So who made this dua for us?
Meet Samira. A revert who was a victim of domestic violence prior to becoming Muslim, moved states with her 4 children because she was looking for a religious environment. Worked multiple jobs in restaurants and cafes to try and support her family. Quit her job because she was being verbally abused and was running out of options with no place to live! Forced to live in her car with her kids, she found out about NZF.

Upon reviewing her case, our case workers reached out to her urgently and just in time by the Will of Allah. Alhamdulillah she had just identified a place to rent and she needed help with her bond and rent. We sorted it out within a few hours for her and helped her through the process.

That’s all it took. Your money, our time to listen and assist. And inshaAllah it is written in your good deeds and ours.

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That sister you saw on the train! She could be Amina ..

This is the story of Amina. Just another sister, here in Australia.

Amina looked at her daughter, cheerful, playing with a little toy on the floor. She gazed out the window. Clear blue skies. Fresh clean air. Alhamdulillah. They had made it to Australia and were now free. She shuddered thinking about the past couple of years, the tears beginning to well up. Her husband murdered. She being tortured by the Burmese government. Destruction all around her. Her family killed. There were days when she would have rather died than put up with what the oppressive regime was putting her and her family through.

But Allah had better plans for Amina. She sought asylum in Australia with her young daughter. The process through detention, while inhumane by many standards, made Amina stronger and more humble and if anything, brought her closer to Allah. Her refugee claim was subsequently approved and she was finally released into the community here in Australia.

She should be celebrating. She smiled to herself. It seemed the worst was over, in spite of just being notified that she would be homeless within days because she now has work rights and is expected to find a job and accommodation for herself and her daughter! She was grateful. But she had no idea how she was going to find a job. She felt the stigma of being a refugee, and was not sure if people would want to talk to her. Australia was certainly a strange place, but in it’s strangeness Amina found NZF. She found hope.

Within days, NZF identified a community where she would be comfortable and is now assisting with finding her permanent accommodation. We are also providing food vouchers and parcels so she can look after herself and her daughter during Ramadan. We also helping them out with material goods in the winter and providing the much needed emotional support they need Alhamdulillah!

Helping our brothers and sisters such as Amina is not an option. It is our collective obligation. Support us at nzf.org.au

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Sister Iman – Domestic Violence & Struggling Refugee

Sister Iman had been in a abusive relationship with her husband who also had a drug problem. For her own welfare and that of her children, Iman came to Australia to seek asylum.

As Iman and her children were in Australia as asylum seekers they did not have a recognized legal right to receive assistance from the government or to work. An asylum seeker advocacy group had provided the family with a small income and weekly food parcels, however this wasn’t enough to sustain the needs of a family. Iman had practically been forced to resort to beg for food.

Due to her limited income sister Iman had no choice but to move into a share house, which is not the best environment to raise children in because of the high level of exposure to alcohol, drugs and smoking.

Not only was Sister Iman struggling to maintain the basic necessities her family required but she also had the burden of the children’s schooling in particular with the purchasing of books and uniforms.

The families application for asylum to Australia was eventually rejected despite putting in numerous appeals with a lawyer. She was formally asked to leave Australia. Because of this the little financial support she was receiving from the asylum seeker advocacy group was cancelled. This is when sister Iman contacted the National Zakat Foundation for assistance.

How NZF helped Sister Iman:

The National Zakat Foundation was able to provide immediate emergency relief for sister Iman and her family. NZF aimed to make their last few months in Australia as stress free as possible. The family was given food and school supplies. In particular NZF was able to help the client sort out her bills and remaining few weeks of rent.

Without the assistance that NZF was able to provide through the Australian publics Zakat donations the family were most likely going to starve- with having no money to even buy basic items, the children would have not been able to attend school during this period and sister Iman would have accumulated debt because of not having any source of income to pay her bills and rent.

Unfortunately it was not ideal for sister Iman and her children to return to their home country however she has accepted that this inshallah was best option for her and her children. Sister Iman has expressed immense gratitude for the assistance NZF was able to provide in her final months in Australia.

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