Ensuring a life of dignity for orphans is a very special act of piety, benevolence and kindness in Islam as in all religions. The holy Quran says:
“Treat not the orphan with harshness” (Quran 93:9)
Creating a sense of responsibility towards orphans, the Quran says:
“They ask you, (O Muhammad), what they shall spend. Say: that which you spend for good (must go) to parents and near kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. And whatsoever good you do, lo! Allah is Aware of it.” (Quran 2:215)
It is said the orphans have a unique affinity with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who lost both his parents by the age of six. A well-known hadith quotes the Prophet (pbuh) as saying:
“I, and the one who looks after an orphan, will be together like this in the next world”, then he raised his index and middle fingers together. (Muslim)
It is indeed a great shared responsibility of a community to look after orphans. While in every society we find orphanages set up to look after them, often as part of social welfare schemes of the governments, these hardly seek a life for them beyond the bare minimum. Few orphanages aim at a holistic development of their inmates. Recently I came across this orphanage in Kazakhstan. The following is based on my interaction with Mr Orazembet Jonisov, Head of Kawthar Foundation in Kazakhstan.
The Foundation was established in 2005 to establish full-care orphanages. An orphanage for boys was established in 2006 in the city Kabchgay and for girls in the cities of Kaskelen and Almaty. Together they look after around 200 (two hundred) orphans in different age groups. The Foundation aims to provide holistic education and life skills to all inmates. All expenditure (current monthly budget is about six thousand US dollars) are financed through donations from private individuals and institutions.
I share some pictures, with the hope that this will open the eyes of many orphanage sponsors and managers and set benchmarks regarding the quality of life that orphans are entitled to in such institutions.
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A DAY OUT