A Special #GivingTuesday to Yemen

Crowdfunding is an Interesting Universe

There’s a crowdfund for almost anything today. You can raise funds to make cherry pie in the actual shape of pi 3.14. A need for a single tooth can be answered by a group of well meaning stranger. There’s also the possible good fortune of having sculptures of bacon created, if desired.

No matter how you name it, crowdfunding has changed the way we view and contribute to fundraisers forever. But something special happened in 2018 on this past #GivingTuesday, an annual campaign for people to donate to various causes mostly boosted on social media.

An outpouring of compassion rained in across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc., making it the largest increase in contributions in years. A total of over $380 million was raised by organizations and everyday people, an uptick of 27% from last year. Islamic Relief USA was fortunate enough to participate in the wave of generosity, in partnership with LaunchGood, by #GivingTuesday to Yemen.

A Laser Focus on Yemen

Families in Yemen are experiencing an uncertain day-to-day life, enduring starvation, disease, and death. The truth is, seemingly endless conflict is bringing a dark cloud over the country. And among everyone there, the most vulnerable of Yemen suffer that’s cloud’s storms.

According to BBC News, 85,000 children have already died from violence, poor healthcare infrastructure, and going through stretches of time without even the smallest amount of food. Famine, beyond anything, is wounding entire communities.

Pictures shared of infants’ skin clinging to bones show just a morsel of the destruction. That’s why for all of us here at IRUSA, #GivingTuesday to Yemen was an easy choice. IRUSA knows how severe the situation is and how so many people around the globe are saddened by the onslaught of tragic news from the region.

Children like Salem

IRUSA gave Tuesday to children like seven-month-old Salem Ahmed, who arrived at a medical center in Hodeida, Yemen, severely malnourished, with a face growing tinier everyday.

From November 2017 until May 2018, Salem received treatment at an IRUSA-supported Outpatient Therapeutic Program (OTP) where they tended to his rapid weight loss. After ongoing medical assistance Salem’s mother Rabaa, who herself had been struggling with lactation due to famine declared, “My beautiful son is better now.”

Competing for Good

LaunchGood’s #GivingTuesday competition brought wonderful organizations and causes to the forefront in a healthy race to aid vulnerable populations. Each unique drive sought to make a situation better. An Islamic community center, Dar-Al-Hijra Masjid in Falls Church, Virginia, won first place in total number contributing donors for their playground project. Panama City Masjid held tight to the evening surge of donors, placing them number one in total funds raised.

Lastly, after raising less than $2,000 on #GivingTuesday just last year, donors contributed close to $100,000 to Islamic Relief USA’s campaign for Yemen. This placed IRUSA second in both amount raised and total donors. And it was all possible because of our compassionate, generous donor base. Thank you.

Beyond anything, these past few days showed what strength in numbers can look like, especially when aligned with a crisis that is heavy on many of our hearts.

We know that #GivingTuesday to Yemen is one small part of a larger process to answer the call for our brothers and sisters. Tomorrow, we’ll have to pour out from the depths of our compassion again. IRUSA is thankful that out of all the possible campaigns to give to, you chose to work together for a better world.

Tariq is part of the Communications & External Relations team at Islamic Relief USA.

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