ON the eve of her final Grade 12 examinations, Head Girl of the Auckland Park Academy of Excellence (APAX), Aneesa Randeree, pledged R20, 000 in a waqf donation aimed at supporting leadership development, the under privileged and educational initiatives at her school.
Speaking at a special dinner function attended by fellow learners, staff members and special guests, which marked the end of her tenure as Head Girl, Randeree made the announcement during her outgoing speech. APAX, which opened its doors in 2011, is a Muslim school situated in Johannesburg.
Waqf is a divine trust instituted by the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. Property, ethical investments and assets – such as farmland – are put in a trust whereby the core investment or capital cannot be eroded, but its fruits have to be used for the benefit of the community. According to Sacred Law, waqf cannot be ceded or sold.
Randeree’s donation was handed to AWQAF SA, an NGO that specialises in waqf, and that runs several local and national programmes – such as Maths tuition, the drilling of water wells and social cohesion events focused at uplifting South Africa’s less fortunate. AWQAF SA won international awards for its efforts in 2013-14.
In her speech at the dinner function, Randeree said, “waqf is the most powerful, sacredly sustainable enduring and empowering of all Islamic voluntary charities. I’d like to give something back to my school, a tangible legacy as a token of my appreciation…I’d like to plant a seed as a lifelong evergreen.”
She then went on to challenge everyone present to follow her example also by contributing to the fund. School principal, Mr Suliman Ismail, praised the initiative of his former Head Girl.
“The entire school community, including governance, parents, educators, learners and staff were overwhelmed by this amazing gesture. It will go a long way in reviving the culture of waqf gifting in the community. Charity does indeed begin at home. We are confident that this is the beginning of APAX becoming a strong partner of the waqf system.
“We are committed to developing it further, and would encourage all other schools and [parents to do the same. Congratulations to Aneesa Randeree and her family. We are indeed proud of you and the legacy that you have left behind. Thanks to AWQAF SA for facilitating this brilliant initiative. Your reward is with Allah, for He is the dispenser of rewards,” said Ismail.
Aneesa’s proud parents said that they had always encouraged their daughter to help the poor and needy. From an early age, she had loved to visit orphanages and the elderly, and had always been passionate about fundraising, and loved to give to others.
“APAX has further entrenched this value by affording her many opportunities. As a Johannesburg Junior Councillor last year, she participated in charity events which broadened her horizons and empowered her vision. And as a Channel Islam international ambassador for the second year running, Aneesa was able to gain a wealth of knowledge…
“Although we have watched her in her little acts of kindness and generosity over the years, we certainly didn’t see this latest initiative coming, when she pledged R20, 000 to a waqf fund for the school. She has surpassed our expectations. Alhamdullilah, we feel very proud of her noble gesture in giving back and creating a lasting legacy. May Allah Almighty accept all her efforts.
“The concept of waqf promoted by AWQAF SA is a brilliant and sustainable investment model. This is where all parties can benefit. I hope that schools can promote this. I encourage all learners to plant this seed, to water it and watch it grow into a huge tree giving its bountiful fruits to all, insha Allah,” said Aneesa’s dad.
AWQAF SA CEO, Zeinoul Abedien Cajee, said that this is a first for a Head Girl of a Muslim school to show such inspiring leadership.
“Aneesa is indeed a role model and we hope that every learner in every school follows her example. We need to up the scale of the waqf system, until it reaches every home in South Africa. Unless we empower ourselves through the waqf system, we will struggle to become a self-reliant, independent, indispensable, but beneficent community. The waqf system will enable us to take our humanitarian efforts to the poorest of the poor in South Africa, God willing,” he said.
Cajee also announced that Aneesa had also been appointed as an AWQAF SA Youth Ambassador. “Waqf offers a dynamic solution to our socio economic challenges in the country, and we feel that by appointing dynamic young people to promote the uplifting values of waqf, we can grow confidently into the future,” he said.
What Aneesa’s parents had to say:
We as parents have always encouraged Aneesa to help the poor and needy. From a little girl,she loved visiting orphanages and the elderly. She is passionate about fundraising and loves to “Give” always.
Apax school has further entrenched this value by affording her many opportunities.
As a Johannesburg junior councilor last year she participated in many charity events which further broadened her horizons.
Hasanain Abdullah (Project Manager)
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