Woking keeps putting its best foot forward

THE swell of support for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan is still going strong in Woking – with one local group putting their best foot forward in the relief effort.

Members of the Ribat Institute, inspired by organiser Shaheen Hussain, spent the first day of December on the fundraising march, taking in six miles of Woking wilderness to raise in excess of £2,500 for people still without food or shelter in the Philippines.

All the funds will be distributed to the needy via Muslim Hands UK, who currently have emergency relief teams on the ground in the worst hit areas.

Shaheen explained: “Seeing the images on the television made it difficult for me to even eat my dinner. This is a country so undeveloped that they could not even do anything about the bodies in the street – you feel so helpless watching that.”

That is when she decided to approach the institute for support.

“I have made personal donations to disasters before but you want to do more, and when I spoke to other people I found that they were feeling the same.”

In total, just under 20 people pulled on their walking boots to help fill the coffers.

Shaheen said: “We had a variety of participants and families joining in. There were people over 50 right down to eight-year-old primary schoolchildren. It was refreshing to see how enthusiastic the young children were about raising funds, and between three of them they raised at least £470.

“We started our walk from the Basingstoke Canal by Sheerwater Bridge, over the River Wey Navigation, traversing its beautiful towpath towards Cox’s Mill, before making our return walk.

“It was a mild and lovely day, dry with hardly any wind. This let us absorb the beauty of the route and appreciate nature so calm.

“When gazing at the stillness of the beautiful water alongside us, it dawned on us how that same water caused catastrophic devastation to the Philippines. It immediately sank in how fortunate we are and made us more determined in our cause, as we never know when the tide may turn.”

By mid November, more than £50 million had been raised by the British public in a worldwide call for aid.

The Ribat Institute is still collecting for the typhoon disaster. Visit the charity’s Just Giving site at www.justgiving.com/AppealPhilippinesTyphoon – or text TYPH70, plus your donation amount in pounds, to 70070.

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