A Bradford man who helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for Syria by organising the delivery of tens of thousands of cakes, has received a national award for his charitable efforts.
Abdul Basit Ali, 23, was last night recognised for his major role in Islamic Relief’s Ramadan #Cakes4Syria initiative from last year which saw 23,000 cakes delivered to homes at more than 1,000 postcodes throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
It was Mr Basit’s job to be at the heart of the project organising teams of volunteers to make the deliveries – he also designed a marketing and social media campaign which took it from Bradford where it began up to a national level, making £300,000 for the charity’s aid work.
At Islamic Relief awards dinner in Birmingham, which was attended by former Liverpool footballers John Barnes, John Aldridge and Didi Hamman, Mr Basit was awarded the Muhammad Yaseen Army Public School Award.
The memorial award remembers Muhammad Yaseen who died in the horrific attack on a school in Peshawar last December, it was the boy’s uncle Nasir Awan, ofHeaton Street, Birmingham, who chose Mr Basit to receive the £500 award.
Mr Basit said he was surprised but delighted to receive it.
He said: “We all just get our heads down and work as hard as we can to deliver as many cakes as possible within the time limit, so this is totally unexpected. It’s also moving to think the award is named after a boy who died in such tragic circumstances.”
Islamic Relief ‘s head of community fundraising, Zia Salik said: “Abdul Basit is a dedicated, passionate and caring person who provides inspiration through his voluntary work within our community.
“Many young people discovered volunteering for the first time by engaging with the cakes project and have since been doing other great work in the community and also helping those in need abroad.”
The original cakes idea came from trainee solicitor Sibbat e Noor, also 23, of Frizinghall, Bradford, and volunteers drove at their own cost around England and Wales delivering cakes to doorsteps to raise money with each one costing £10 and profit to go to Islamic Relief’s Syria Appeal.
Funds raised for Islamic Relief’s Syria Appeal helped provide food, medical assistance, tents, caravans, ambulances and specific support to help children cope with trauma.
Islamic Relief’s work with Syrian refugees spans Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and within Syria itself.
As an international aid and development charity it covers many others and is one of the 14 UK charities that form the Disasters Emergency Committee. In its 30-year history it has helped an estimated 92 million people.