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The Khidma Initiative in Minnesota Helps Muslim Families During the Coronavirus

The Khidma Initiative in Minnesota Helps Muslim Families During the Coronavirus

A charity programme founded in Minnesota in the United States aims to deliver aid and support to families struggling through the coronavirus crisis. Named the Khidma Initiative, the programme has partnered with local mosques, masjids, restaurants and charities to deliver essential goods to vulnerable and needy families.

Since mid-March, the programme has delivered thousands of meals and food kits, as well as hundreds of basic necessities. It also launched a separate program called Khidma Talk which offers emotional support for the lonely and those suffering from anxiety over the present situation.

“Khidma” means “service”

The Khidma Initiative was started by Hannan Wazwaz in Early-March. Wazwaz noticed that just days into social distancing, many local organisations, mosques and masjids were struggling to deliver basic supplies to Muslim families while adhering to social-distancing rules. Alongside 10 other young Muslim professionals, she started Khidma as an emergency service, networking local mosques, charities, restaurants and shops to deliver fresh and non-perishable food, hygiene kits and other necessities. They mainly serve elderly and vulnerable families.

Wazwaz said that the name of the initiative itself, Khidma, which means “service” in Somali, Oromo, Arabic, Urdu and other languages, was chosen to evoke the sense of being “in the service of others, and to take action on one cause together.”

Thousands of meals have been delivered already

In a matter of weeks since its founding, the Khidma Initiative has already achieved many things. It has partnered with numerous minority restaurants including Afro Deli which provides the majority of the food, franchises, charities and religious organisation, as well as a similar initiative named U Adeeg. Since mid-March, it served more than 2,000 hot meals, 250 sanitation kits and around 5,000 food kits. Its current goal is to feed 1,000 Muslims a day for 30 days in Ramadan, and 30,000 people over the next month.

Wazwaz said that she wanted her programme to be different than the “next organisation”. She said that many mosques and charities already help the vulnerable and her goal is to act as a “unifier” of sorts. The fact that she did not “step on anybody’s toes” and has partnered with existing organisations has gotten her more support from local and existing groups.

Khidma is looking to expand its reach

As a result of these early successes, Khidma is now looking to expand its scope and reach. Its current goal is to expand to the Rochester and St. Cloud areas of Minnesota that were previously unserved.

It has also launched the “Khidma Talk” service. Wazwaz described “Khidma Talk” as an emotional support service for those feeling overwhelmed and lonely due to the crisis, isolation and loss of jobs. She felt it is important to take care of people’s emotional frustrations and help ease their mind. In addition to direct talks, the service offers a list of other helpful hotlines.

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