Islamic Relief recently welcomed their new chief operations officer, Yusuf Mohamed, whose aim is to become more involved with the community.
Mr Mohamed took up his position at the start of December last year. He became aware of Islamic Relief in 2003 when its Egyptian founder, Dr Hani Albanna, visited Cape Town.
At the time, Mr Mohamed, 44, was on the executive committee of the Unisa Muslim Students’ Association and the group was approached to host Dr Albanna in Cape Town during his stay.
Mr Mohamed drove him around the city and that was when Dr Albanna explained what Islamic Relief was all about.
“His personality was something I haven’t experienced from many people, such a committed and passionate person, all he wanted to do was to serve humanity and that was the first thing that grabbed me,” said Mr Mohamed.
Mr Mohamed became a volunteer at the Lansdowne-based organisation and helped out with various programmes such as the feeding scheme where he delivered food parcels to the needy.
He said growing up with a father who was very community orientated and having a family with a strong sense of community responsibility made him quite keen to get involved.
He said that the reason he has spent many years at Islamic Relief is that the organisation makes a huge impact on the lives of the people they help.
“It changes and transforms people’s reality which is what keeps me going at this organisation.
“The one change that I’d like to make is that more community members get involved. They don’t need to only make financial contributions but perhaps volunteer their skills, time and expertise.
“When you get involved in an organisation like this, when you put back into society in a constructive way where you actually have an impact on those less fortunate, it has an effect on you. It can only add value to you as a person,” he said.
The father of three, who lives in Rylands, said their flagship initiative is called the 1-2-1 Orphans programme, where they pair one sponsor with an orphaned child.
The sponsor is responsible for the nutritional, educational and social needs of the child.
Islamic Relief also teaches skills to the guardians of the orphans to make them more self-sufficient and better able to take care of themselves and their families.
“Don’t only think of getting involved financially. If you have expertise or skills, get involved and see the impact that the organisation has on the needy, it will give you the confidence to contribute more, we all need to put back into society,” said Mr Mohamed.
To get involved with Islamic Relief, you can contact the office on 021 696 0145 or visit the website at