I wanted to take part in “Good News Tuesday” for a long time but somehow couldn’t get around to it. Then I started to read the Ismaili Newsletter and was introduced to the other side of Islam, that our media hardly ever show. The Islam of creating gardens, helping the poor and working for understanding between cultures and religions and I thought: It’s important to show this “other” image of Islam. Of course, it is not an “other” image. In my opinion, this is what Islam and all religion do and/or should stand for. However, today’s media still earns more with images of terrorism, poverty and sexism and so we mainly register these traits.
Today though I just want to start with three people: two connected with the Christchurch Mosque shootings and one I learned about in the Ismaili Newsletter.
The first is Andrew Graystone who last Friday stood in front of his local mosque with a sign in his hand saying:” You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray!”
These small gestures mean so much even though at first it feels like it makes not much difference. But he showed that there are upright people in this country who believe in equality of humankind no matter the creed or skin colour. You can read more about him here and here
video credit: RNZ via YouTube
His message that the only weapon against fear is meeting people and becoming friends is one that we need to hear and we need to spread I think.
The other is New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who not only works for changing New Zealand’s gun laws immediately after the shooting (Hey Mr T you can learn something from her!!!!!) but has also vowed not to use the gun man’s name. In her opinion, he was looking for fame and not naming him takes that away. I have often said that to my husband in the past few years of attacks of all sorts and everywhere: The media should not give these people so much attention. That just plays into their ego. I think she is a great example for us all.
video source: Global News via YouTube
Last but not least meet Khudododova Tursunmo a 73-year-old lady from Tajikistan who used to work as Government Pension Fund worker but has dedicated her life to community savings groups in her area.
You can only start a bank account in Tajikistan if you have 100 somonis (10$ US) and you probably have to pay fees too. The Mountain Societies Development Support Programme which is a branch of the Aga Khan Development Network (“AKDN”) dedicated to improving the quality of life of the people of the mountainous oblasts of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (source Wikipedia) developed so-called GAJA’s. These are community groups where you can save as much or as little money as you want. Each GAJA is governed by an elected leader, treasurer, and secretary who have keys to the lockbox where the cash and records are stored. All three keys are needed to open the lockbox — a low-cost way to prevent theft. The groups are self-managed and grounded on the principles of accountability, equity, and inclusion. (source The Ismaili Our Stories)
When the current Iman of the Ismaili community celebrated his 60th anniversary of being the leader Khudododova pledged to create 60 more GAJA’s to celebrate the 60 years of the Imans work as well as to help poor and marginalised people in her area to be able to save up some money for a better life. It works like this: Groups of up to 35 individuals, usually women, form a savings group and meet weekly to buy shares, apply for and obtain loans, and contribute to an emergency social fund. At the end of the annual cycle, any surplus accrued is paid out to members proportionate to the shares they own. The cycle then begins again, creating a modest, yet continuous platform for economic growth and financial stability. During particularly difficult economic times, GAJAs are often seen as the only reliable place to keep money. (source The Ismaili)
I think this idea is ingenious and that this generous lady has helped many to reach a better life.
Find out more about her here.
So that is it for this week’s “Good NEWS Tuesday”. Please head over to JoAnna and find much more good news.
May you have a wonderful rest of the week!