Fatima Sulaiman was raised in a Muslim home where she learnt the words, “Charity doesn’t decrease your wealth but instead Allah increases it.”Her family, especially her mother and grandmother lived this verse and were always willing to help others. So as Fatima grew, helping others became second nature to her. In her second year at Radford university, Fatima joined her friend on an ‘Our Day’ programme for students of a deprived school in Nungua organised by Heal the world.
There, she met a young boy who wore no footwear because his sandals were spoiled. Fatima being the caring person she is, volunteered to help him repair his sandals. She bought him rubber slippers- chalewote and paid to have the boy’s sandals repaired as well. Both times, the boy hugged Fatima and said “Thank You. God bless you.” This boy’s action touched Fatima so much. “The boy’s ‘Thank you’ brought tears to my eyes.” Fatima says. That moment remains etched in her memory because it inspired her to start Imole Anar.
Imole Anar, which means illuminate, is a charity organisation that focuses on women, children and health. Since 2019, the charity has organised spa treatments and makeovers for widows on Mother’s Day. They have donated sanitary products and clothes to kayayei in Accra and distributed food to street children.
They have also designed upcoming programmes to tackle child labour, abuse teenage pregnancies and support for family with sickle cell. She hopes that her work will brighten the lives of so many people.Fatima shares how volunteering makes her feel. “The feeling is indescribable. The fulfilment you feel when you see children after donating items to them. The joy in their eyes and knowing you are the reason behind that joy is heart-warming.”
Fatima has benefited from sacrificing to help others. She recounts, “From my first programme to now, I have grown.” She has become more organised; her leadership and negotiation skills have been enhanced. Fatima has also learnt to work well with people from all backgrounds. Most importantly, she has learnt that the beneficiaries come first. So, she keeps this in mind all the time. This keeps her going whenever she encounters challenges. “It’s not about me but about the people I am helping.”
Volunteer work promotes development. This is what Fatima believes. She adds “Feeding people on the street, getting off the street is a government’s job but charities like Imoli Anar and other organisations are taking this responsibility and assisting with development.
Here’s some advice from Fatima, “Someone will see you volunteering and will vouch for you to get something you need. Most organisations like the UN recruit young people who have volunteered. So, volunteer. We need money to do a lot of things but don’t make money a priority. You can donate or give a bit of your time to help those in need and you will be rewarded one way or the other. Remember, ‘Charity doesn’t decrease your wealth, rather it increases it.
Fatima Suleiman is a Data and Fraud Analyst at Vodafone Ghana. She is the founder of Imoli Anar, a charity organisation that focuses on Women, Children and Health. She hopes to expand the work of Imoli Anar across Ghana and West Africa
What did you learn from Fatima’s incredible story? Have you volunteered with her or benefited from her volunteer work? Tell us about it in the Comment Section. Are you a volunteer? We would like to hear your story too. Reach out to us via here