All throughout December 2015, Muslim youth have been travelling to Cumbria, volunteering for several days to assist those affected by the recent storms and floods which have devastated areas of Cumbria.

The youth travelled from as far as Scotland and London, Yorkshire, the South East, North East and North West of the UK. From the 8th of December right through to the 31st, up to 104 youth on a single day from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) joined in the efforts with armed forces, fire service, Town councils and other charitable organisations.

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Members of the AMYA who travelled from the South stayed overnight at the Ahmadiyya Muslim ‘Darul Aman’ Mosque in Manchester which was set up as a temporary rest centre for the volunteers and a Command and Control Centre to best coordinate where the volunteers should be sent.

The youth assisted in filling sandbags, clearing debris and assisting the council by helping residents get back on their feet after homes were flooded. On other days, youth helped sort out donated items at support centres set up in public buildings such as the University of Cumbria. Youth also went door to door in Keswick and Appleby among other towns to offer any help and assistance to residents. Food packs were also handed out to those in dire need. Residents were overwhelmed by the support offered by the Muslim youth and other volunteers were pleasantly surprised at the distance AMYA volunteers had travelled to offer their support.

Humanity First International (HF) supported AMYA in their clean-up operations across Cumbria and Yorkshire. Activities with HF included clearing streets and homes, pumping water from basements and food and essential items distribution. Along with HF, AMYA worked over 7,000 man hours helping approximately 10,000 people with 350 volunteers over the course of December.

The youth donned high-vis jackets bearing their logo and the slogan ‘Muslim for Humanity’ which was practically demonstrated during this month. The youth were reminded why they were going to help by the words of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who stated:

”My desire, my wish and my objective is serving humanity. It is my job, my faith, my inspiration and my way.”

For many of the youth this was the second time they have been involved with flood relief since the devastating floods of 2014.

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Muddassar Ahmad, National Director of Charities and Social Activities for AMYA said: “As Muslims we are duty bound to always help one another, especially when such disasters strike. Also I think it’s important that through our actions people can see the true nature of Islam. December is usually a busy month for us as we increase our charitable activities and have many homeless feeding sessions, care home visits and providing gifts for sick children during the Christmas period.”

One resident in Cumbria said:

“I am extremely grateful and you are a credit to the Muslim community and I hope the whole world knows about all the wonderful things you’ve done for us, in pouring rain and nasty, dirty conditions, helping a woman on her own with a disabled husband.”

AMYA have various nationwide initiatives that have included blood drives where more than 6000 pints of blood have been donated, over 100,000 trees planted, more than 30,0000 food packs distributed to the homeless, visiting the sick and elderly, charity events, peace conferences and interfaith meetings.