We’ve all heard the saying, ‘not all heroes wear capes.’ Well, we’ve got another one for you. Not all heroes are adults.

We are ending Small Charity Week with a day of appreciation;  appreciation for the unsung heroes who strive hard to raise funds for HHUGS families. All the staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes, all the volunteers who strive to alleviate the hardships our families face, all the supporters who like, comment and share, all the gifters who generously dig deep, and all of those who supplicate for HHUGS families.

We would also like to a highlight a special unsung hero called Layla, who is not unbeknown to HHUGS supporters. She fundraised for the last two Ramadhans, last year by fasting for HHUGS families. This year Layla came back with a fighting spirit. She jumped on HHUGS’ first Child Champions Race to Jannah campaign and was crowned the WINNER, raising a whopping £6,569!

Layla decided to partake in the Child Champions Race to Jannah campaign this year after being inspired by her father, who is a dedicated fundraiser for HHUGS.

“I wanted to help the families in need. My dad has been doing it for years and I wanted to join myself. I also felt it would be fun.”

The Child Champions Campaign this Ramadhan was the first of its kind. We wanted to get children involved, by encouraging them to fundraise for children like themselves who are struggling in HHUGS families. Layla’s father comments on this the importance of the campaign.

“I think it was a great idea to get the children involved. I have always tried to keep the kids a part of it, but for them to be actively involved and named was a big positive for them. They are our future and we need to prepare them well, and we can learn a few things from them along the way InshaAllah.”

As always, Layla wanted to keep things interesting. She went and above and beyond in her tactics to raise money for HHUGS children. She took part in a sponsored silence which was difficult for her, as those who know her best, say she loves to talk!

“She did some brainstorming with her school friends a couple of weeks before Ramadhan and she came up with the idea herself. Everyone was shocked as they know she talks a lot and thought she wouldn’t be able to do it. She had to hold back all day and struggled a lot.”

Layla found it difficult and was worried she would slip up, but she preserved and succeeded!

“It was really hard, being silent for the whole day. It was hard to stay quiet because I talk a lot normally and kept worrying I would slip up.”

The sponsored silence was not the only challenge Layla took on. She arranged a charity car wash with all proceeds going to HHUGS children! Layla was joined by friends and family supporting her with the car wash, both by helping wash cars and donating.

“It was really fun. My friends from school came to help me and my cousins and my brother and sister. It was hard when it got busy and there was a big queue. The most fun bit was getting soaked and playing around whilst doing it.”

The car wash was a roaring success, and Layla and her family were surprised at the support, and outcome.

“The car wash went great and everyone showed great support. We went and bought everything we would need along with sweets and drinks for the childrens stand.

It was actually a lot busier than we expected. I don’t think we were able to stop at any point, with the first car actually arriving before we started. I wasn’t there, only my wife was with Layla so she panicked a bit but Alhamdolillah it went so well. The challenging bit was the constant on the move. We let the kids to the washing but had to assist along the way.”

Layla helped clean cars tirelessly, and although by the end of it she was exhausted she was also thrilled at the results.

“She was exhausted but very happy with the result. We felt it was a great success and raised good awareness.”

Layla has inherited her father’s competitive spirit, and in true fashion follows in his footsteps. She too had some stiff competition with Br Iqeel’s son, Idris, whose father normally competes with hers annually.  She offered to assist her father with his competition but he declined, encouraging her to take the win for their family this year.

“I kept checking to see who was in the lead and was keen to beat him (Idris). I was very happy and excited that I beat him. I also asked my Dad if he wanted to upload some money to his page so he could beat Idris’ Dad but he refused and said my fundraising would go on my own page.”

The rivalry to raise the most for HHUGS families has been going on for years between Layla’s father and Idris’, which has now been passed down to the children.  They are both grateful for the brotherly competition, and the ability to push each other for goodness. Layla’s father comments,

“It was a very tough competition with Iqeel getting so far ahead so quickly. Without a doubt, he absolutely smashed it masha’Allah and always proud of him and pray for his success. I’m just happy that I’m here to keep pushing him and not letting him rest, and grabbing a share of the reward.”

Both Layla and her family were thrilled when Layla was crowned the Child Champion of 2021. The hard work, dedication and fighting spirit all payed off this Ramadhan. Layla was happy that she could raise funds for children like her, who are struggling.

“I felt happy and excited. And happy for the families that I raised the money for.”

Her parents bought her a present to congratulate her, whilst also reminding her of the aim and outcome of her fundraising and hard efforts.

“We bought her a present and told her how proud we were. We also reminded her of the purpose and how we hope it all makes a difference.”

Layla and her family are pleased with the results of their efforts, and that they can make a huge difference to HHUGS children.  However, if you thought she was done, you are wrong. When asked whether she wanted to do it again next year, she replied:

“Yes, definitely! Because it was fun and to help the families.”

Her father also encourages others to get involved, and the importance of instilling the drive to help others within the next generation.

“100%. It’s fun, it’s exciting and gives the children something great to be involved with. Gives them an understanding and a hunger to want to do good for others.”

Sign up for our Dhul Hijjah Race to Jannah challenge. Get your children involved to be the Child Champion of Dhul Hijjah 2021 or to sacrifice something they love as part of our annual Give It Up For HHUGS Challenge!