“Jo musibat mein hai, woh musibat sabse zyada samajhta hai,” said Mohammed Salim (23), sitting in his shanty at the Rohingya refugee camp in Shram Vihar. A member of the Rohingya Shine Star football club, Salim recently decided to collect money to help the flood-ravaged state of Kerala.
“After our game one day, we were watching videos of the floods… and I felt we should do something. People from Kerala have always helped us in our difficult times,” said Salim, who is a daily wage labourer and makes around Rs 300 a day.
His team decided to call a meeting of residents at the camp, where around 90 families live in shanties. Within two days, the club managed to collect Rs 40,000 and send it to Kerala through an NGO, Human Welfare Foundation. “Almost everyone pitched in — some gave Rs 500, others Rs 1,000. In two days, we had collected approximately Rs 25,000. The club contributed Rs 5,000. Residents also decided to give the Rs 10,000 emergency fund they had kept aside for unforeseen situations,” said club member Mohammed Sirajullah (26), who also works as daily wage labourer.
Noufal P K, CEO in-charge of the Human Welfare Foundation, told The Indian Express that they received the money in cash on August 27. “We received around Rs 40,000 on August 27 from the members of the Rohingya football club. We sent the money to Kerala through our volunteers working there,” he said.
Taking a cue, other Rohingya settlements in the country also decided to start collecting money for the cause. Ali Jauhar, a Rohingya youth leader, said they have created a WhatsApp group — Rohingya For Kerala — to collect money. “We made a video appealing to people to collect money for Kerala and the collection is ongoing,” said Jauhar.
He added that they have collected Rs 25,000 from 20-22 camps in Hyderabad, and around Rs 20,000 from the six camps in Haryana. From Delhi, he said, another Rs 9,000 has been collected. Back at the Shram Vihar camp, Abul Fayaz said they have decided to extend help if there is ever a situation like the one in Kerala. “India is our home now. We want to help people here in their difficult times,” said the 25-year-old, who works as a mason and is part of the club.