Thursday, March 18, 2010

Al-Khair Charitable Trust: A noble effort to serve the community

By Manzar Bilal, TwoCircles.net,


To tackle the basic problems of the local Muslim community some Muslim social activists who felt the pain of the community established Al-Khair Charitable Trust in 1998 in Patna. In the last 11 years, the trust has benifited hundreds of Muslims through its services, chiefly interest free loans.

Al-Khair, which is a registered charitable trust, has served the community since the first day of its establishment while giving preference to those Muslim families who are living below the poverty line. Currently headed by Mr. Arshad Ajmal with nine trustees, the trust runs under the supervision of a team of Ulema especially from Imarat-e-Shariah. It is completely based on donations and charities by the community.



Mr. Najeebul Haque, one of the trustees and founders, told TCN that the sorry condition of the community in all spheres of the life pushed them to set up the trust.

“It was 1998 when I and Dr. Badrul Huda planned to establish Al-Khair Charitable Trust and by the virtue of Almighty Allah and with the help of some wealthy Muslims we have succeeded. Later, many prominent personalities joined us and helped us expand the activities of the Trust” recalled Mr. Najeebul Haque who is also in-charge of the head office of the Trust in Haroon Nagar locality of Phulwari Shareef area in Bihar’s capital.




“In the beginning we worked to alleviate poverty, to help the poor children for education and to provide medical support to deprived people of the community and we are happy that Trust is not only achieving its aims but also expanded its area to take up other community related works. But still we feel that there are a lot to do” he added.

Micro Finance System

Though Al-Khair Trust has been busy in curbing the financial problems of the community from the first day, in 2002 it set up Al-Khair Co-operative Credit Society Limited to work in an organized way in this field by providing interest free loans to poor people.

During the last seven years Al-Khair has distributed about Rs 3.5 crore as interest free loans which helped a number of families to become self-dependent. Poor people of those areas where Al-Khair is working are getting benefits of this system and getting relief from interest.

To get loans from Al-Khair Co-operative Credit Society, one must become its member by paying 100 rupees. He has to submit application which is passed after the discussion by officials and trustees who meet every Sunday for the purpose. Presently, it has 3500 members -- not only Muslims but also a good number of non-Muslims.



It provides three kinds of loans: (1) Short Time Business Loan (STBL) under which one can get up to Rs. 20,000 which is to be returned within one month. (2) Morabiha Loan (ML) under this scheme Al-Khair helps in the form of providing things such as computers, freezes and almirahs (cupboards) etc. to the needy families with the cost of up to Rs. 35,000, for the period of one year. (3) Demand Loans (DL) which allows one to get up to Rs. 20,000, for the period of one year. These amounts are to be returned to the Society in installments.


There are 8 employees of Al-Khair who collect the installemnts of the loans from people in debt everyday if he is businessman and once in a month in case he is salaried.

“We take only one time service charge from the loan-takers. They have to pay Rs. 35 for Rs. 1000, Rs. 305 for Rs. 5000, Rs.730 for Rs. 10000, Rs. 1280 for Rs. 15000 and Rs. 1670 for 20000 so on. If one crosses the bound time then also there will be no increase in service charges. Al-Khair has current account and not saving account which is free from interest. During these periods, Trust has set an example before the people that interest free banking can be run without any problems which is advocated by Islam” told Mr. Najeebul Haque.

“Al-Khair’s method of works got appreciation from many parts of the country and people came forward to set up such system in their area. To promote the interest free banking, Al-Khair has organized many seminars in Bihar, UP and Delhi” he added.


Mr. Najeebul Haque one of the trustees of Al-Khair Co-operative Society


He also informed that almost 50% of members of Al-Khair Co-operative Society are non-Muslims who are getting benefits. The reason behind it is that they get loans easily from here while to get the same from any bank they have to make much efforts.

“Now we have got permission from the concerned governments to set up Al-Khair’s branches in Jharkhand, UP and Delhi. Work is on for that and soon it will be completed” he said.

Education

In the field of education, Al-Khair Trust is running two schemes. (1) Kafala- under this scheme poor children are being provided with financial assistance in the form of fees. Currently, Al-Khair is paying fees on behalf of 65 children for each Rs.300 per month. (2) Scholarship- this scheme is for those poor students who wish to enroll in professional courses. In running year, 4 students of engineering are getting Rs.1000-2000.

Besides, five poor students have been selected who are getting training for Chartered Accountancy (CA). They are being provided fees for coaching, hostel, food and exams by the Trust.



There is also evening education centre run by the Trust in Phulwari Shareef wherein those poor Muslims children who are working in shops or factory are being imparted education.

“For current year executive committee of Al-Khair Trust has approved Rs 1.3 lakh for the educational welfare” said Mr. Najeebul Haque.

Health

Although Al-Khair Trust could not set up any hospital or medical centre to serve in the field of health because of lack of fund, it has been organizing camps for providing free medicines to people affected by common diseases such as Tuberculosis (TB).

It has also been distributing relief packages among flood affected people. Last year after the flood in Kosi region which affected 5 districts Al-Khair tried to reach people. Similarly, it has been also trying to give seasonal relief packages to the poor families like warm dresses in winter, food packages in raining period, setting up water pumps in summer season.



Other activities

With the aim to create awareness among the Muslim community about government scholarship for minority students, Al-Khair has hold programs at many places in the state.

“We have distributed forms of scholarships free of cost among the community. The Trust has spent Rs.65000 on publication of the forms” informed Najeebul Haque.

On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, A-lkhair distributed dresses among 500 poor families of the city and also distributed Eid packets among 5000 families. 5000 families were given meets of Qurbani 2 kg each on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha by the Trust.

“The Trust is going to set up Women Activity Centre in Patna Central to train the women to make them self-dependent” said he.

He also said that there are many programs in the pipeline. As soon as we get fund we will launch those programs.

Besides the head office in Haroon Nagar, Phulwari Shareef, the Trust has two additional branches in Shahganj of Patna Central and in Milki Mohalla of Arrah district.



Address

Al-Khair Charitable Trust

Haroon Nagar Sector 2, Phulwari Shareef

Patna-801505

Phone: 0612-2252404

E-mail arshadajmal@yahoo.co.in

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