The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Updates from Chicago – Wings for Tomorrow 7 August , 2012

Refugee Assistance Programs (RAP), a 100% volunteer run, Chapter of World Faith (www.worldfaith.org), a 501c3, has helped Chicago’s refugees “learn to fish” since 2004.

From seed money for a sewing & baking co-op run by Iraqi refugee widows to payments for truck driving lessons & educational certifications, RAP puts Chicago’s refugees of all faiths back on their feet with funding raised  soley at the grassroots.

RAP (www.rap-us.org) this Ramadan, raised over 1000 toys for refugees at a Toy Drive with 300+ attendees and 50 volunteers ages 8 and up.

Just as RAP is honored to bring a smile to a child’s face, it is committed to providing wings not crutches to families. Adel Abood, recipient of the 1st Annual Refugee Assistance Programs “Wings of Courage Award” – 2011, doesn’t talk about life in Iraq. He’s focused on building a life for his wife and two pre-schoolers here in America.  A doctor in Iraq, Adel was eager to begin the process of getting his medical license. Early on, his family just needed to survive, which meant he needed to get a job. Any job. “I want to be a doctor again. To work hard and support my family. I don’t need to be rich. I just want to be able to pay my bills.”

It took some time, but eventually he found Refugee Assistance Programs, who financed some of the exams and books required for medical recertification. Adel, today, is a resident at a Chicago hospital.  “Are there families I can help? Please let me know,” he asks.

As the sole breadwinner for his wife, three children and mother-in-law, Duraid, once a Computer Scientist in Iraq, and a refugee in Chicago since 2008, worked a number of odd jobs, until he was injured at work.

When he approached RAP, they paid for his driving lessons for semi-trucks and subsequently the license. Today, Duraid supports his family in America and his loved ones back in Iraq too.  In 2012, Durraid became the second recipient of the RAP ‘Wings of Courage Award’.

Fatima Hindi, a widow and mother to a pre-schooler who never knew if she could pay the rent each month, is an inspiration to us all. She has used RAP donations to create a co-operative with other refugee women.  They now sell their sewing on www.Etsy.com and their baking at local ethnic stores.  She can be reached at fatima_takwa@yahoo.com.
As Americans and as Muslims, RAP is proud to strengthen the fabric of this nation, and Chicago, each day. It’s Board is comprised of co-founders Kiran Ansari, Aliya Husain, Naazish YarKhan and Thamreen Siddiqui. The board welcomes Madiha Haroon.

Your zakat makes a difference. Please support our efforts and Refugee Assistance Programs
www.rap-us.org. Thank you.
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