Khadija Motiwala, a member of the local Dawoodi Bohra community, creates masks with her sewing machine for the congregation to donate to Williamson County’s Mask Brigade. Donations are distributed by the organization to at-risk workers in the county.
With help from its members, Austin’s Dawoodi Bohras have joined Bohras in a worldwide COVID-19 relief effort. This volunteer work coincided with Ramadan, their holy month that emphasizes charity.
This small Pflugerville congregation has donated over 100 homemade masks to Williamson County’s Mask Brigade, collected monetary donations for the Central Texas Food Bank and organized children to create virtual cards for health care workers.
“The leader of the worldwide Dawoodi Bohra community, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, sent a message to all Bohra community organizations to extend whatever help they can to those who are hungry and in need”
Mufaddal Amijee, the congregation’s senior religious leader, said the Bohra’s global relief effort was initiated after their leader, or Da’i al-Mutlaq, reached out to the entire community.
“The leader of the worldwide Dawoodi Bohra community, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, sent a message to all Bohra community organizations to extend whatever help they can to those who are hungry and in need,” Amijee said. “Bohra volunteers in Austin have mobilized to do just that.”`
Four women took to their sewing machines to create over 100 masks for the Mask Brigade, a Williamson County organization dedicated to the collection of homemade masks. The group distributes them to medical personnel, first responders and other essential workers.
“We are continually inspired to help by our community and Austin,” said Khadija Motiwala, one of the four mask sewersd. “We asked those with the skillset and interest to take time to hand sew masks. Everyone was eager to help in any way possible.”
Medical professionals within their community have become a resource for other members with COVID-19-related questions and concerns. These professionals also contact elderly members to check in with them, while other volunteers buy the elderly groceries and deliver them masks.
A spokesperson for the Bohras of Austin, Mubaraka Malbari, said that the congregation has for years organized food drives to tackle hunger, malnutrition and food waste. Their belief that no person should go to bed hungry stems from the mission of Project Rise, a global philanthropic program by the Dawoodi Bohras that helps the less fortunate.
Malbari said their congregation plans to continue giving back and doing all that us possible to reduce the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We cannot predict when this crisis will be over but, in the meantime, we’re committed to stepping up to help vulnerable members of society, while supporting those many people working tirelessly on the front line in Austin,” she said. “Importantly, the Dawoodi Bohras will continue to support the needy and vulnerable in Austin well after the pandemic has subsided.”
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