Responding to the Coronavirus pandemic

The Foundation has felt honoured to be in a position to support response activities either for new projects directly related to the Coronovirus pandemic or to protect existing programmes.

As highlighted in an earlier News Items sharing how the COSARAF Foundation is responding to COVID-19, we are pleased to have made the London Funders pledge to support our existing grantees. It has been incredibly impressive and heart-warming to hear directly from grantees on how they are flexing and adapting operations, where they can, to meet the needs of their beneficiaries. When crisis hits, people step up – and we’re seeing lots of that right now.

Coronavirus is a huge challenge for everyone in the communities in which we operate both in the UK and overseas. The COSARAF Foundation trustees have received a number of requests from charity leaders who are relying on the spirit of solidarity to get through the coronavirus pandemic and are reaching out for additional funding or funding for new, specific projects. The Foundation’s trustees have felt an acute sense of responsibility to the charities we support and, especially, the communities who benefit from their work. The Foundation has, therefore, felt honoured to be in a position to support response activities either for new projects directly related to the Coronovirus pandemic or to protect existing programmes.

So far, the COSARAF Foundation has already provided the following additional support in response to the public health crisis:

• As the COSARAF Foundation’s Hardship Grants programme continues to and increasingly provides grants to those in most financial need, trustees have responded to a request from the Muslim Charities Forum to support their Campaign for National Solidarity. Trustees have agreed to ring fence £20,000 of the hardship fund (grants are typically between £500-£1,000) for applicants who are eligible for Zakat and proposed by grass roots charities.

• The Foundation has stepped in to provide additional support to The Noor Project in Lahore which has been approved as a centre for providing emergency food rations to some of the most vulnerable local communities. Thanks to an additional grant of £60,000, the team in Lahore will be able to provide some 1000 food ration packs over the next three months, each of which will support a family of six. In total, the Foundation’s support will provide 5400 meals for families most in need during the pandemic.

• In Karachi, the Foundation has been working closely with the team at the Fahmida Begum Foundation to ensure that its normal feeding programme for the poorest individuals in Mehran Town can be adapted to the challenges of the pandemic. The Foundation is unable to deliver its usual cooked meals at the current time, but is now distributing food rations so that those so dependent on the Foundation’s support – no more so than at the current time – can continue to count on this vital support.

• Supported our existing grantee Youth Leads UK with an additional grant to purchase equipment (including software) to keep the young people they work with actively engaged during lockdown. The young people will be working with Youth Leads UK partners to dispel the myths against the virus and will be directly quizzing health experts (such as local Directors of Public Health). Interviews will then be shared with young people on social media.

• In Kenya, the Shamakha Foundation’s feeding programme in rural communities in Mombasa has had to be adapted to the current challenges. The Foundation has agreed that its existing funding can be used to support the safe distribution of food packages, rather than the normal provision of cooked meals.

• Funding and sourcing food packages to provide an evening meal to 125 residents of three St Mungo’s hostels in Camden throughout April. Although St Mungo’s provides a healthy and nutritious breakfast to their residents, individuals are expected to source their own evening meal. This has proved incredibly challenging and meant that it’s been almost impossible for residents to self-isolate when needed and not leave the hostel. The grant from the COSARAF Foundation means that all residents will have a warm evening meal that they can prepare themselves through April. We worked closely with St Mungo’s and a couple of wholesalers who agreed to deliver as the funding alone would not have solved the problem of finding a supplier willing to deliver to such a large number.

The Foundation has received a high number of requests and is responding on a week-by-week basis to all applications that are looking for funding for response activities to COVID-19. New grants will be referenced through our News Items as the situation remains. The Foundation’s day-to-day business continues including preparing for Ramadan programmes, our continuing hardship and major grants funding.

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