NAZAS… empowering the less-privileged

Alhaji Uthman Animashaun (left); Alhaji Daud Oniyide; Alhaji Niyi Yusuf; and Alhaja Bola Kupolati

Alhaji Uthman Animashaun (left); Alhaji Daud Oniyide; Alhaji Niyi Yusuf; and Alhaja Bola Kupolati

Recently, 45 less-privileged persons were given various items and cash by the NASFAT Agency for ZAKAT and SADAQAT (NAZAS), a non-governmental organization established with the aim of providing succour to the needy in the society. SULAIMON SALAU captures the emotional moment of this life-changing experience.

You could see frustration written in their faces as they walked into the venue at the Nigerian institute of Town Planners Hall, Alausa, Ikeja that Sunday morning where the disbursement took place. One is visually impaired while two other women are on the wheelchair. The other 42 beneficiaries were able men and women who have seen the other side of life and thought all their hope was lost. So they sat down quietly while the women among them offered prayers intermittently. And even in their state of despair, they were still hopeful. After all, the outcome of that day would have a positive impact that would shape their future.

In what could be tagged a life changing experience, beneficiaries went home with various items and cash donations worth N8 million at a disbursement of ZAKAT and SADAQAT ceremony organized by the NASFAT Agency for ZAKAT and SADAQAT (NAZAS), a non-governmental organization saddled with the responsibility of taking care of the needy in the society.

The agency was able to achieve all of this with the support and commitments of the donors and kind-hearted Nigerians who have volunteered to part with some of their yearly earnings in form of Zakat.

Though incorporated on January 31st January 2014, NAZAS commenced operations in May 2014 with the recruitment of the pioneer general and operations manager, and eight board of directors who are specialist in their field. The agency was formally launched on June 21st 2014 which coincided with the first day of Ramadan.

Committed to touching lives, the agency swung into action immediately through empowerment and scholarship programmes.

The past 235 beneficiaries impacted by NAZAS range from 86 students on educational scholarship support, which cuts across primary, secondary, tertiary, visually impaired, law school and prison inmates. It also embarked on empowerment and business support for 15 persons/SMEs, debts bail-out for six person, health related cases/medical support for 15 persons, business and accommodation support for six converts/reverts to Islam. And presently, 42 students are on regular annual scholarship list.

The agency’s benevolent act is not limited to individuals alone as it had reached out to the vulnerable within the society. In March 2016, it dispatched the first batched of relief materials to the Internally Displaced Persons camps in Borno, Yobe and Gombe States. This was jointly executed by NAZAS and MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Centre). Also, through its public health initiative, the agency is collaborating with Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria (IMAN) to provide free medical services to the downtrodden in underserved location.

The event tagged two in one began with its maiden annual general meeting headed by the agency’s Chairman Board of Director and Managing Director of Accenture Nigeria, Mr. Niyi Yusuf. The purpose was to give stewards of their activities in the past years. At the commencement of the programme in 2014, the agency doled out over 36 million on empowerment programme while in June 2016 during Ramadan, it also gave out N6 million. The third intervention was N8 million which included items and cash donations. Some of the items given out according to the needs of the beneficiaries were industrial machine, sewing machine, wiping machine, deep freezer.
After the AGM came the moment they beneficiaries had been waiting for.

Mrs. Aisha Ogunbayo, a physically challenged mother of three who was brought in a wheelchair could not hide her joy for this kind gesture from NAZAS when she was called to come and receive a cheque of N200, 000 to revive her chemical business. “Is this real?” Ogunbayo asked rhetorically. “Nobody has ever done this to me”. She was murmuring as she was being wheeled to the front table. In an interview with journalists, Ogunbayo who has been on the wheel chair since age eight couldn’t believe her fortune.

“My sister this is real. But at the initial stage I was skeptical about it. I am into chemical business but I have been having financial difficulty. I discussed with one of the members and my husband also persuaded me to apply for it. With this intervention, NAZAS have bailed me out of poverty. I would be grateful forever.”

For Ashafa Amoke, a single mother and a seamstress, she couldn’t have wished for a better Sunday. She got sewing machine, wiping machine and a cash donation to equip her business. “NAZAS is God sent. I am a tailor. I finished my apprentice in 2005 with only one machine. Since then I have been struggling to make ends meet. I have not been able to raise money to equip my shop. I pray to God to give me the enablement to be able to pay back. God will continue to bless them and their businesses and as God prospers the work of my hands I will be able to pay my Zakat. And to the people out there NAZAS empowerment is real.”

Just like Ashafa, Taofeek Ahmed who completed his apprentice since 2004 has been managing with people because he didn’t have the financial capacity to set up his own workshop. He also received cash donation. “I am happy today that I am becoming my own boss. Today is a turning point in my life because God has used them for me to be able to become a man of my own. With this money, I would be able to buy welding machine, filing machine, and all the equipment needed. God has used them. I never dreamt that I would receive such amount of money that would be enough to stand on my own.”

One of the beneficiaries, Abdulfatai Onasanya, a transporter also has a story to tell. “I am a transporter. I had a danfo that had been grounded for years. I have three children and in other for my family not to go hungry I went into petty trading. With this money I will be able to bring my bus back on the road. Today, my hope is renewed and I am back to business. What can I say? I thank the coordinators of this life changing empowerment programme.”

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