NAACP President Rev. Anthony serves as keynote speaker, urges aid to Africa
|Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony addressing guests at Medrar iftar last week on Saturday at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. PHOTO: Nafeh AbuNab|
Medrar places strong emphasis on long term sustainability which is what has made its projects lifetime investments in the communities they serve.
Last year the Medrar Foundation raised more than $170,000 according to President of the Medrar Foundation in America Jihad Fadlallah for its mission in Somalia, after the impoverished African country was struck by one of the most crippling droughts in recent memory, leading to the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet at the time.
That mission was nothing short of a success. Since last year a total of five water wells were built in Somalia that have provided 55,000 people with clean drinkable water who otherwise wouldn't have access to the source. The water wells have been used for cooking purposes, as well as by animals that have benefited from them. One question that often emerges is why the Foundation has chosen to focus its efforts in Africa while there are so many impoverished countries in the Arab World. While there are needy Arabs around the globe, the founder of Medrar Foundation worldwide, Haj Abdullah Berry, notes that the international community's general consensus is that certain African countries are facing far more difficult conditions.
"That's why we are focusing our efforts on the needs of the impoverished and neglected population of Africa," he said.
|U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (r) with community and religious leaders listening to Dr. Anthony.|
According to the foundation the degree of deprivation witnessed in Africa is one not common in other regions. African countries such as Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, and Somalia, among others have the world's lowest GDP; most people live not only below the poverty line but also below the survival line. Literacy and morality rates in Africa are the worst in the world. The Foundation responds to situations in accordance to how severe they are.
Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, a civil rights leader and Detroit Chapter President of the NAACP delivered a moving address urging people to get involved in donating to people in Africa through the Medrar Foundation.
Anthony recalled an incident years ago while traveling in an African country amid a war. He remembered landing on the ground in a village that had been bombed for six months straight, and among the battle, pain and agony stood the most beautiful red rose he ever saw.
"It stood in the midst of the field of battle. It said to me, that where ever there is battle, where ever there is trouble, where ever there is pain, there's still hope for a miracle," Anthony said.
He urged members of the audience to be the symbol of hope represented by the rose, and to stand firm against human suffering by donating to Medrar.
|Ali Fadlallah, a member of Medrar, emceed the event. Mr. Fadlallah spoke about his experience while visiting Ethiopia on assignments.|
"I'm so glad that you did not look the other way, that you looked in the direction of the needy," said Anthony.
He says by aiding children in Africa, people are contributing to the futures of its children, and giving them the opportunity to become leaders in their own communities someday.
"The seeds you plant in these children when you dig wells, when you give them education, when you teach them because they will not have any other opportunity to be taught then what you bring...The seeds that you plant now will be the seeds that will grow," said Anthony.
U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. congratulated Medrar for looking into the literacy, poverty and starvation issues that needs to be addressed in Ethiopia.
"We belong to the same human family, and God had ordered us to care for one another whether we're from Lebanon, Afghanistan, Africa or Iraq, we all belong to the same family. My brothers and sisters it's our responsibility and obligation to help those needy people in Africa," Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini of the ICA said.
Ali Fadlallah, the master of ceremonies and a member of the Medrar Foundation said he's seen poverty, but not to the extent that exists in Africa.
He says students in Ethiopia come to school hungry, they don't have school supplies and people are simply trying to make education a reality.
"That's where I saw poverty take a face, take a shape, take a form that I have never seen before. That's where I saw streets and dirt roads that resembled no other dirt road that I have ever seen before," he said.
Mr. Fadlallah just returned from Ethiopia and is working on the Orphanage Oasis Project, which is currently in the implementation stage.