World Federation envoys have travelled to Africa to understand at first hand regional challenges around eradicating Khoja poverty and to galvanise collaboration.
Sibtein Asaria (WF Councillor for Eradication of Poverty) and Mustafa Kassam (WF Councillor with portfolio of Education) met AFED leaders and Jamaats in Arusha, Dra es Salaam, Nairobi and Mombasa.
Their goal is to create schemes to further eradicate poverty in the Khoja community via education, and Mr Asaria said: “We are looking forward to working together with AFED for the betterment of our Khoja communities and indeed Humanity at large.”
He added: “We are anxious to visit your region and collectively embark on a mission to galvanise our worldwide Khoja donor community to provide a helping hand to our less fortunate Khoja brothers in need. We value the opportunity to understand first hand your regional challenges so that we can collectively agree how to best tackle our objectives.”
Priorities for action
Areas discussed included:
- AFED’s Higher Education Loan Programme and Scholarships (Degree Courses): leveraging and galvanising support from the wider Khoja fraternity, and creating a glossary of universities worldwide to work with in the future.
- Integrating a “WF-AFED Higher Education Scholarship Programme” for Khojas with Habib University (HU) in Karachi.
- AFED’s MAMAS Grant Scheme (Primary & Secondary Schools): improving the quality of education and increasing support for welfare students, funding shortfalls so that every Khoja student in need of education assistance receives it.
- Economic upliftment and commercial loan schemes: such as emulating HBT’s successful model for small business loans in Karachi and whether this might in the future work in the business climate of East Africa.
- Women’s empowerment programmes.
- Vocational (Technical) Skills Training Centres: promoting training in information technology to help Khoja brothers and sisters gain the right skillset to move up the social ladder. Demand for vocational training is currently very low in the community.
- Housing schemes: many families are on welfare or live hand to mouth because up to 50% of their income goes on rent. Making low- and low-middle-class families home-owners results in huge savings and enables parents to educate their children.
This visit will enable the WF envoys to work together with AFED on creating a framework of engagement regarding both education priorities and strategies, as well as community upliftment programmes.
Mr Asaria said: “We are forging a strong working relationship with AFED to bring about greater networking of the community’s philanthropists, so that together we can foster an environment of collective co-operation for social investment in economically developing all members of our community.”