By Dapo Akinrefon

This year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration has come and gone, but those who received benevolence during the period will not forget in a hurry, and one of the charity organizations that facilitated it described it as a way to serve humanity.

2022 eid-el-kabir was celebrated with fun, and amidst gratitude to God all over the world, and Nigerian Muslims also joined other Muslims across the globe to mark the festival. 

However, there were reports that some could not afford rams which are symbols of appreciation to God, as he commanded Prophet Ibrahim. No doubt, some homes could not afford rams and other animals accepted to slaughter during the eid-el-kabir because their prices were on a high side.

However, over 70, 000 families across 28 states received cows from an Abuja-based Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), the Near Foundation, which was established in February 2021. The eid-el-Kabir package, the leadership of the foundation said, was distributed to serve humanity and put smiles on the faces of the less privileged Nigerians irrespective of religion and cultural backgrounds.

The President of the foundation, Bahlul Faith Basaran, who spoke on the gesture in Abuja, said the package was distributed under the hunger relief programme of the NGO, adding that the organizations aside from the distribution of the cows, has also given scholarships to students, embarked on medical outreach and dug several boreholes in some of the Nigerian communities.  

Touching life with compassion

The president of the foundation, who noted that the organisation’s mission was to be nearer to the less privileged, and make them happy, said that under its heath relief programme, with its motto as’ ‘Touching Lives with the compassion’’, the NGO had reached out to over 140 Nigerians.

His words: “We have reached out to more than 140 people, we did the cataract surgeries in the last one and half years.

“We have done 13 health screening programmes, we have done it in different states, including Abuja, Kaduna, Yobe, Kano, and Lagos, Now, Lagos has been added actually and this health screening we have been doing with the collaboration with Nizamiye hospital, but now proudly, we have the our own students who graduated from the NTTC schools, and went to medical schools, and upon graduation started working in government hospitals.

“We have those volunteers who have graduated from the Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTTC), and we have more than 50 doctors. Now, through their assistance, we have reached out to these 13 health screening programmes. Whenever we have ready materials, and when we alert them, voluntarily, they are coming. In Kaduna, we have more than 13 doctors. In Kano, we have almost 16 doctors who are now working in our government hospitals.

“In Abuja, we have like six, also eight, I think, even three of them are working in Nizamiye hospital. And all these ones, they are organising and assisting us a lot. For that reason, that medical donation is coming up as a charity activity again under the health because we have enough doctors now.

 “We need only medicines to provide for them to give it to the needy and then that’s why even we have the one motto ‘save lives with the one cup of coffee’’ because with one cup of coffee, now when you’re drinking 1000 Naira, you can buy them one malaria medicine and save a life actually we did.”

On the emergency surgeries, he said: “We have done several emergency surgeries, for those who could afford the operation. This is like fibroids, appendices and so on. We tried to reach out to them. There is one of our staff babies who was born and his intestine was out. We assisted financially for the surgery, we did that.”

1000 boreholes in the pipeline

Basaran, who explained that the foundation has erected and commissioned 71 boreholes in seven states under the water relief programme of the organization, said Near Foundation targets 1000 boreholes, part of those that will be erected in the government Schools.

“Under the Water relief, our motto is ‘water is life’, and we have been establishing boreholes, and in less than one and half years, we have established 71 boreholes and commissioned them in seven states; and very soon the number of the states will increase. We have decided as a foundation to establish boreholes inside the government schools, which we have taken permission and informed the Ministry of Education and UBEC is giving us school’s names, where we will establish them. Our borehole is the same concept in the government schools.

In Abuja, I think we have done 30 something boreholes, or 34 and the numbers have been increased actually… And this is the concept of our Borehole, everywhere is the same style; 10 taps and then 3000 litres of tanks we have been given. Our target is to reach 1000 boreholes by the grace of God, and this is our target’’, he said.

1526 students get scholarships

He noted that under the educational relief of the organization, a total of 1,526 students have enjoyed scholarships.

“Under the educational relief, we have our motto which is ‘education is hope’. Under the educational relief, as you have seen here, we have the two activities which are scholarship activities and renovation.

“As the Near Foundation, this year, we have started giving scholarships to 974 students; last year, we gave 552 students scholarships, and out of those 552 students, 89 of them, have graduated. This year, we started giving them scholarships, but unfortunately after three months or so, ASUU began a strike. We are waiting for ASUU to resume and we will continue to support our youths. “We have one only major criterion to give scholarship, and it is the CGPA, it is for any student who is above 3.5. We have done some renovations in the government schools and activated those classrooms; and reached out to more students. In Kano, we have done two government schools and in Kaduna, we have done one of the government schools and they asked for more extra classes.

“And unfortunately, you know that our government schools are a bit crowded, its class has nothing less than 60-70 students. When we establish four more classrooms, which means, 260 more students can get education by the grace of God.”

 Let smile together

Basaran, who noted the hunger relief programme of the foundation as ‘Let smile together’ as its motto, added that during the time under review, a total of 1763 cows in 28 different states were sacrificed for Nigerians.

He said: “Our motto for hunger relief is ‘Let’s smile together’. We have been organising these activities for many years and with the Near Foundation in one and half years, we did the fasting during the Ramadan, eid-el- kabir, and this is the second eid- el-Kabir that we celebrated and distributed together with the Near Foundation and during the Christmas and also apart from the Christmas and Easter, we have distributed the palliatives because of COVID-19 difficulties.

“And during last year’s Ramadan, almost 28,000 packages were distributed. Each package contained 11 kg materials; dry crops, we had it; rice, macaroni with the two kg of rice, two kg of beans and then six pack of macaroni, one kg of Semovita, one kg of Semolina and then one kg of wheat and salt we had them inside our package. We reached out to 20,000 families.

“By that one, as the population of families in Nigeria is a little bit huge, if you calculate it, number of 10, which means, 280,000 people that means, we reached out to during the fasting period.

“We also reached out to Nigerians during Christmas in collaboration with the office of the vice President, and we distributed more than 3000 packages. And during last year’s eid-el-Kabir, we sacrificed 1160 cows, but this year, Hamdulillah, in this year’s eid-el- kabir, we sacrificed 1763 cows in 28 different states. As I mentioned, the number of the cows we sacrificed are 1,763 in 28 Different states, and we have distributed them at 140 different points. All our volunteers have worked perfectly. Through this one, the number of the families we have reached is more than 70,000 families’’

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