Riding With a Cause
Passengers in the cars and commuters on the buses peeked out, passers-by moved slowly, all intrigued by the legion of cars & bikes of all colours & sizes that had congregated by Still Road. Inside the building, Mr Mohamed Nassir, Director of SimplyIslam,sg, was briefing over 50 staff & volunteers who had assembled for the annual Ramadan Charity Basket; this year held on 20th August 2011.
The project started in 2008 where donations were used to buy a myriad of food provisions such as rice, instant noodles, sugar, flour, various spices, Milo, coconut milk, dates and many others. Volunteers would then head to the homes of the recipients to hand the provisions over.
Hearing of this project, Osman Ahmad, 26, founder of Solidarity Brothers (previously known as Intifada Riders) volunteered his group to help deliver the items as well. Since then, Solidarity Brothers has been a part of SimplyIslam’s annual Ramadan Charity Basket.
SimplyIslam received an overwhelming response of not just donations but volunteers as well this year. The Solidarity Brothers came out in their black polo t-shirt with their logo emblazoned at the back.
Solidarity Brothers, or its previous name Intifada Riders, started out with a few friends who volunteered to be road marshals for a Mosque Youth night cycling event. After that, friends of friends joined in and soon they started volunteering for various charity activities such as “Kasih Ramadan” and Pertapis’ monthly distribution of food also called “Throttle of Hearts”.
When asked about the change of name of the group, Osman informed us that the group was recently revamped to inject the Islamic factor and to attract more youths, and felt a name change was needed to complete it.
Daing Afdal, 23, was pleased to be involved once again. “It makes me happy to see their smiles. They are watching television and the minute we give Salaam, you can see their expression change because they’re really grateful to be getting the provisions.”
Kamsani, 25, also attests to that and says, “At the first house we went to, the makcik (aunty) actually brought all the kids out to kiss our hands. You can really feel their gratitude. We’re happy that we’re able to help.”
Osman had stressed the need for reflection and it seems that gratitude was the keyword this year. For first-time volunteer rider Taufiq, 22, he had heard about Solidarity Brothers from a forum they recently organized and decided to join the group. On his reflection during Ramadan Charity Basket 2011, Taufiq says his main take-away is “Not everyone is as lucky as us.”
We are grateful for these brothers whose passion for riding is not self-serving. We pray for their safety on the roads and success in their future projects!
If you wish to find out more about Solidarity Brothers, please visit www.solidaritybros.org.