How much would you pay to keep a child with its mother, asks Fahad Ansari.
Is there a price that can be placed on the value of having a mother and child kept united together under the same roof? If the members of a family are separated as a result of conflict or disaster, and end up living in different continents, would you ever consider it too expensive to arrange for the family to be reunified?
Most societies recognise that, as a general rule, children should always remain with their parents, except where it may endanger them. For this reason, incredible efforts are made to keep families together or reunite them where separated, even if this incurs significant financial expenditure. For this reason, organisations like the Red Cross will spend months and years attempting to trace family members of refugee children in different countries around the world, in an effort to protect what is considered to be the best interests of those children: to be with their parents.
One of the primary reasons that I have joined the HHUGS’s Race to Jannah challenge is because like the Red Cross, it leaves no stone unturned in its efforts to ensure that children, already traumatised by the impact of anti-terror laws, do not suffer further harm by being taken into care and separated from both of their parents.
One case that I have become familiar with in recent years is that of our sister Rosa, whose husband was imprisoned for a number of years, as a result of which Rosa was left as the sole carer for four very young children. A foreign national herself, Rosa had no family or close friends who could assist her during this very difficult time. She was ostracised by the community and marginalised from the wider society, all of who condemned her and her children for the arrest of her husband.
Already reeling from the loss of her husband and having to explain to her children why their father would not be coming home for many years, Rosa suddenly found herself completely debilitated as a result of suffering from fibromyalgia, a medical condition that attacks every muscle in the body leaving the sufferer unable to walk or sometimes even move due to the excruciating pain.
This chronic illness results in extreme fatigue rendering the patient unable to carry out basic tasks such as cleaning, bathing, showering or even relieving oneself in the toilet. Her health visitor detailed how Rosa would spend most of the day lying down due to fatigue and severe pain and weakness and the problems she faces with basic tasks.
“There have been occasions reported where she has been using the cooker and has had to lie on the floor as she felt so unwell. This has resulted in the food burning and she has been awoken by the smoke detector sounding. She now does not use the hob.”
Rosa herself explained to HHUGS how at times, she could not even reach the portable commode toilet next to her bed leaving her having defecated and urinated on herself and waiting for someone to come and clean her. Rosa also began to suffer from severe depression as a result of her condition and circumstances.
One would normally expect the State to assist in such a scenario. However, the support provided by the Adult Social Services was limited to a carer visiting her for half an hour three times a day which was wholly insufficient to cater for the needs of Rosa and her children. As a result, and rather perversely, the Children Social Services determined that Rosa was unfit to look after her children because of her condition, and that as they were at risk of harm, they should be taken into care. In other words, Rosa would lose her children because of her illness and the failure of anyone from the community to support her.
It was at this critical juncture that HHUGS intervened and agreed to privately pay her carer for an additional seven hours a day, which not only assisted her to fulfil her basic needs, but crucially stopped the State from taking her children into care.
HHUGS has continued to pay for this carer for the past three years ensuring that Rosa and her children remain together.
The price of this carer has not been cheap. In fact, it has cost the charity over £30,000 in the past year alone. Some might find this shocking and an extravagant use of limited resources.
Others may say that for a charity that operates to support 160 families on a shoe-string budget, spending over £30,000 in a single year on one beneficiary is wasteful and negligent.
We however respectfully disagree as when we tried to place a single value on keeping these children with their mother, we could not quantify it. If anything it is a bargain. As a direct result of HHUGS’ intervention, Rosa has been permitted to keep her four young children. I do not think any parent in the world can place a price on that.
I implore all of you to please join the Race to Jannah Challenge this Ramadan to raise £100,000 for HHUGS. This may seem like an enormous amount of money. It is not, it will be enough to cover Rosa’s carer for the coming year and to support two dozen other families. This may seem like a difficult task. It is not. There is no mountain trek, skydive or nightwalk involved.
All we need is for you to set up a Just Giving page and send it to all your contacts and leave the rest to the Almighty. HHUGS will even set up the Just Giving page for you if you wish. We require 100 people to raise £1000 each. If this seems too high, try to raise £100 and get 9 other friends to raise £100 as well. It is easily achievable in this special month of charity and blessings.
There is minimal effort involved but maximum reward insha’Allah. If we cannot place a price on keeping children united with their mothers in this world, how can we place a value on the reward of so doing in the Hereafter?