On April 28th  2018, the HHUGS team will head to the Brecon Beacons, for our Unity Trek, a pre-Ramadhan challenge that serves two noble purposes: one, to raise much needed funds for the over 190 families whom HHUGS support. But, just as importantly, it is equally a show of solidarity, a reminder to these families that they haven’t been forgotten by the rest of the ummah.

For many of us, Ramadhan is a time of unity, a time where we come together with our family, with our friends, with our communities, to fast, to eat, to pray. However, for HHUGS families, Ramadhan  can  be a painful time, the time they feel most alone. Already feeling the stigma throughout the year, in Ramadhan the sense of loneliness felt by families is at its most intense, as they observe the rest of the community engaged in festivities with their loved ones. Children seeing their friends taken to taraweeh by their parents, whilst they have no father present to take them. Mothers cut off from their own families, their own social circles, unable to engage in worship as they hoped they might have been able to; struggling to provide a nutritious iftar for their children after the long days of fasting, struggling to keep the smiles on their faces, struggling to keep hope alive in their little hearts. These women and their children, feel like they have no one to turn to, no one to help them during their hour of need, no one to stand with them in solidarity.

The Brecon Beacons Unity Trek is the perfect opportunity to make that stand! By taking part, you are showing these vulnerable women and children that you care, that you are there for them.

This is not the first time HHUGS has trekked the Brecon Beacons. Last August, our team ascended the breathtaking valleys as part of our Father and Son trek. Many individuals were moved to take part as they knew the importance of the cause.

“It’s a cause which is hugely neglected by our society and community. The impact of an arrest affects the wife and children of the detainee. The psychological impact it has from the absent father or husband really leads to the downfall of a family. It is why I wanted to support the people who support this cause.”

Others, through the challenge, gained a new insight into the work of HHUGS.

“I had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time with one of the HHUGS’ beneficiaries who came along to the hike. He told me in depth about how HHUGS had helped him over the years and how much of an impact it had on him and his family, during his time as a detainee and under a control order. He told me about how essential the financial help was during one point in his legal process when he had no access to public funds and had to survive on only £36.95 a week for all his expenses. He described the cards he received in prison and how surprised he was when the prison officer first brought him his morning mail with these cards. The first one had a picture of a house and a family drawn by a young boy, with the words, 'You are not alone,' written in the child's handwriting. He told me how it was to be under a control order in a different city in which he had to spend 22 hours indoors every day. It was at this time HHUGS helped  fund his online courses, a Masters at university, so that he was able to reach out to like-minded academics and start his journey to regaining his former identity. He said that an organisation like HHUGS couldn’t exist today in this country if it wasn’t for Allah's help. Hearing this from someone who had relied on HHUGS for so many years gave me a very different insight into the work they do.”

But there are also other benefits to taking part in such a trek – from experiencing the mountain itself, with its stunning scenery and awe-inspiring views…

It’s a chance to get away from the city and appreciate the nature and its beauty”

to the opportunity to bond with brothers of all ages and backgrounds, from all over the country –

“I really enjoyed the challenge and being surrounded by good company, both young and not as young.”

“The trek was made easier by being surrounded by good company, there was plenty of laughs and bants along the trek and would have been far more challenging if we had to do it by ourselves. This really highlights the importance of unity and helping those in need.

“You will spend time with people who may have a story or experience of an arrest to tell which will certainly leave you lost for words.”

So whether you’ll be uniting with friends, both old and new, or uniting with HHUGS’ beneficiaries, the Brecon Beacons Trek will be an unforgettable experience for you. It’s best summed up, in the words of one of our past participants:

“There are many Hadiths and verses from the Qur’an highlighting brotherhood. It is a fundamental of our faith to wish for our brother what we wish for ourselves. Be with your fellow Muslim in times of need and support them with what you can.”

To join us on April 28th,  sign up here.