Campus News

UH organization raises money, clothes for refugee families

UH students helped organize a drive for refugee Muslims at the end of May. | Courtesy of United Mission for Relief's Houston chapter

UH students helped organize a drive for refugee Muslims at the end of May. | Courtesy of United Mission for Relief’s Houston chapter

The United Mission for Relief’s Houston chapter held its first ever Refugee Iftar, the time in Islamic tradition where people break fast from Ramadan, at the University of Houston on May 27, as well as a Pop Eid Shop where refugee families could get clothing and other items.

“The families that were coming to get Eid clothes were so happy. I honestly have not seen that kind of pure happiness before and it was such a great experience,” said Sana Khanlodhi, a volunteer at UMR, on her Twitter. “The reason the moms were so happy was their kids. These parents could not afford fancy new clothes like you and I can.”

2019 was the first year for this event, which raised $635 from donations and fully stocked the pop-shop. 

The idea originated from meetings during the spring about effective measures for UMR to directly affect the community in Houston, as well as expand their annual Ramadan campaign.

“Organizing and volunteering at this event goes a long way in helping refugees feel more welcome within our communities,” said Saqib Siddiqui, a technology engineering senior at UH.

The Iftar was a full service buffet with desserts that provided a host of variety. The pop-shop was filled with clothes for men and women of all ages and toys for children.   

“As we were passing out dessert during the event, a girl who was a refugee whispered, ‘This is the best iftar ever’ and proceeded to show us the white dress she had chosen to wear for Eid with a huge smile on her face,” said Muhibbah Khan, UMR co-president.

The event has ignited positive attention of many on the internet from inside the Muslim community, and many of the refugees and guests of the Iftar were elated by the experience.

“A lot of the people who benefited from the event came up to us and asked us when the next event was going to take place,” said Daisy Pena, event manager at UMR.

For the future they hope to include communities outside of Muslims and grow the event to the larger Houston area.

“We hope to become an organization that makes anyone and everyone to feel welcomed and inspired to slowly bring a change to the world,” Khan said.

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