by Ashfaq Hussain Syed
Students of the ICN Al-Falah Academy of the Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN) collaborated with Muslims Against Hunger and Hunger Van and prepared 500 hot, healthy, and nutritious meals and delivered them to poor people living under bridges, at train stations, and in homeless shelters in and around Chicago. Students from all grades, kindergarten through to highschool, boys and girls, participated and were assisted by their teachers.
Kashif Fakhruddin, Principal of ICN’s Al-Falah Academy, said that this exercise was of great help in practically demonstrating to students the importance of values such as compassion, giving, and empathy, which are taught to them as a part of a course, called “Connections”.
“Creating awareness about the problems of hunger, poverty, and homelessness among the students at a very young age will be a stepping stone in enabling them to find enduring solutions to these problems when they grow up,” said Aadil Fareed, former ICN President.
Mr. Fareed added that active involvement of students of the ICN Al-Falah Academy in a number of socially-relevant projects will go a long way in understanding real life problems in their true and total frame of reference, developing the right attitudes, and ultimately emerging as responsible citizens.
Mr. Fareed stated that education for the sake of education alone has become a thing of the past. He, therefore, called upon students and teachers to use education to solve the burning problems of the society in general, and those of its weaker sections in particular.
Mr. Shoaib Khadri, ICN President, said that for us as Muslims, it is not just a social responsibility but a religious obligation to take care of the needy and it is important to instill this sense of compassion in our children at a young age.
“At ICN Al-Falah Academy, we do not depend solely on [the] lecture method. Instead, we use a variety of other innovative techniques, including workshops, field trips, projects, assignments, community service, etc.,” said Ms. Anjum Mohsinuddin, a “Connections” team member and the Special Needs Students Program Lead.
“A fusion of the theoretical and practical inputs goes a long way not only in enriching the academic profile of students but also in developing their well-rounded personalities,” he added.
“The very thought that our projects have the potential to brighten up the faces of poor persons energizes us to participate in them enthusiastically,” said Ms. Hibba Hoda, a 6th grade student.
“While attending the classes is important in its own right, the community-oriented projects bring us face-to-face with a number of learning opportunities,” opined many a student unanimously.