St Albans Scouts do virtual Hajj for children in care

PUBLISHED: 07:04 30 July 2020

St Albans scouts complete virtual pilgrimage to buy presents for children in care. Picture: Monir Ali

St Albans scouts complete virtual pilgrimage to buy presents for children in care. Picture: Monir Ali

Archant

With the annual pilgrimage to Mecca postponed across the world, Muslim Scouts have walked the distance virtually.

St Albans scouts complete virtual pilgrimage to buy presents for children in care. Picture: Monir AliSt Albans scouts complete virtual pilgrimage to buy presents for children in care. Picture: Monir Ali

Mecca is approximately 10 million steps - 3,900 miles - from St Albans.

Scouts, Beavers, Cubs, parents and leaders were challenged to contribute as many steps as possible to reach the 10 million steps target within a four week period in time for when the Hajj would normally take place.

The 20th St Albans Ansar Scouts have been walking, hiking and cycling to travel the virtual distance to raise money to buy Eid el Adha gifts for Muslim foster children in homes across the St Albans district.

Group scout leader Monir Ali, who came up with the idea, said: “The initiative inspired the young people to get up off the sofas, away from their screens and get active.

St Albans scouts complete virtual pilgrimage to buy presents for children in care. Picture: Monir AliSt Albans scouts complete virtual pilgrimage to buy presents for children in care. Picture: Monir Ali

“Some used their daily family exercise to step up to the challenge, others planned family cycle rides and a group of Scouts planned a four hour hike across the city.

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“As well as being a great health benefit and contributing towards their World Challenge badge, many of our Scout families and children were planning on going to Hajj and were very disappointed when they couldn’t go so we did the next best thing”.

They have so far raised £1,000 for gifts for the Muslim foster children, and gifts were distributed by Hertfordshire Foster Care. Cub member Hamza Ahmed, nine, raised over £500 in sponsorship and was tasked to purchase the gifts with help from Arianna Ali,12, and Amelia Ali, nine.

Hamza said: “It was a big challenge, but we really enjoyed doing it. “I’m really happy more children will get to experience the happiness of receiving presents on Eid day. I feel blessed that I was able to do this for them.”

Scout Arianna said: “I like helping people. It is an essential part of scouting and my religion. It makes me happy knowing that children my age in foster homes can enjoy Eid too.”

On shopping for the gifts, the leaders felt that the children should be integral part of picking the presents. Amelia said: “I really liked choosing the presents and I am very happy I could be a part of this.”

The Scouts have now reached their 10,000,000 step target and are taking a well-deserved break.

To support them go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/20stalbans-ansarscouts


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