Updated: Oct. 15, 2018 at 2:30 a.m.
The Muslim Students’ Association will soon join thousands of student groups across the globe raising money for orphans in seven countries.
For the first time, the MSA is participating in a weeklong fundraiser from Oct. 22 to Oct. 28 for Charity Week, a worldwide campaign that raises money for orphanages and schools in countries like Somalia, Pakistan and South Africa. Student leaders said they decided to participate in the fundraiser because it provided a chance for members of the MSA to boost their programming and participate in an annual event that all student organizations could rally around.
“I really think this a wonderful opportunity for MSA members who want to be more involved with the MSA organization in terms of the planning and execution of events and feeling like they’re actually part of something,” MSA President Abdullah Tauqeer said.
Charity Week is organized by Islamic Relief, an international humanitarian organization that provides aid, food security and orphan support to people after natural disasters. Members of MSA are planning to host 11 events, including a trivia night and bake sales, throughout the week, according to the Charity Week calendar. The week will end on Sunday, Oct. 28 with a barbecue in Square 80.
In years past, Charity Week has raised more than $3 million from dozens of universities around the world. Organizations at each university conduct their own fundraising efforts and funnel the money raised to Islamic Relief, where the money is distributed to different causes, like orphanages or schools that lack clean water and sanction facilities, according to the Charity Week website.
Tauqeer said a member of Georgetown University’s MSA reached out to other chapters in the District to garner interest in the fundraiser last semester.
He said the fundraiser, which members hope to make an annual event, was “something we couldn’t turn down” because the planning was already established and it allowed the MSA to engage more general body members.
“It’s very easy for MSAs to participate in this because the other end is already in place – where the money is going – and how it’s being distributed,” Tauqeer said. “That’s something student orgs can’t really figure out on our own.”
Ahmed Haytham Ali, the treasurer of MSA, said the group will host bake sales in Square 80 and an Islamic trivia night in District House. He said the MSA is also partnering with the African Students Association on Wednesday, Oct. 24 to host an open mic night.
He said the week is a first step to expand the group’s presence on campus. In the future, Ali said he wants the week to involve more student organizations in events throughout the week.
“This isn’t only an MSA event or week but more of an event for the entire GW community to participate in something we all care about,” he said.
Haytham said he wants Charity Week to facilitate more opportunities for fundraising and community service in the MSA. He said that starting next semester, members of the MSA will also work monthly at a Pakistani halal kitchen, Sakina Halal Grill, which is located at 1108 K St. NW.
“We want this to be the start of monthly volunteer work or donations that we get to be divided into different causes,” he said. “We don’t want this to be like a one-year thing and then it’s over, we want this to carry on throughout the year.”
Sajeda Kabbani, the event coordinator of MSA, said the organization will promote the week with pamphlets, email blasts to the MSA listserv and posts on social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram. She said the event could “foster a greater sense of community” in the MSA – something she said was lacking because students who don’t serve on the executive board may not feel deeply involved in the organization.
“Last year, when I wasn’t on board I was just showing up to events and I didn’t feel that close or part of it so I hope this way, members will find more ways to help out and feel more part of the MSA than just attending events,” Kabbani said.
This post has been updated to reflect the following correction:
In the photo caption, Ahmed Haytham Ali’s name was spelled incorrectly. It has been corrected. We regret this error.