Al-Hilal Regeneration Enterprise CIC – Ramadan Blog

As our final Ramadan blog we spoke to LeaderBoard alumni Sundus about her community organisation Al-Hilal Regeneration Enterprise, a Sporting Equals Associate Member and part of our Girls Powered Project in collaboration with The Sweaty Betty Foundation.

What was the main purpose of Al-Hilal when you were founded in 1978?

In the 1970’s, basic support and advice services to fill out forms and a supplementary school to teach the children their mother tongue languages (Urdu and Arabic) and offer cultural studies were non-existent.  A gentleman called Mohammad Abdus Salam who arrived himself from Pakistan in 1960, decided to take on the role as a Community Worker and work for the community.  Having good command of the English language, both written and verbally, as well as a zeal for helping his community, he founded Al-Hilal Community Project in 1978 and thereafter worked tirelessly to meet the needs of his community. 

Over the years the hard work paid off and it managed to achieve much recognition.  Some of the successes Al-Hilal Community Project were instrumental in achieving were as follows:

  • Helped bridge the generation gap between parents born in Pakistan and children born in UK by offering a mediation service 
  • A supplementary school for children aged 5-16 yrs of age
  • advice and support was issued in many community matters
  • Provision of Halal food in hospitals
  • Preventing the closure of a single-sex girls only Secondary school in North Manchester
  • The provision of burial spaces at Southern Cemetery for Muslims
  • A youth club for both girls and boys

In 2012, after the founding member of the organisation passed on.  Shortly after, it was rebranded to Al-Hiial Regeneration Enterprise CIC and taken over by three passionate local women , who became Directors in 2015. The vision of the Directors remains the same as the founder of the organisation and they themselves celebrated the successes and achievements of the old organisation and were instrumental to seeing it develop over the years.

What are the main projects which Al-Hilal are currently running

Al-Hilal is currently offering the following projects:

  • Football at Manchester City Academy Football club (Sundays , 4.30-6pm)
  • Basektball at MCA school, Tuesdays 5.30-630pm
  • Cycling across Manchester for women  and girls on Sunday mornings 9.30am-1pm
  • Cofeee mornings for older and isolated local residents – Weds 11am-1pm
  • Mental health and wellbeing Whatsapp group of over 200 women, offering support and signposting women to professionals in the field of mental health and wellbeing.

After Ramadan we will be launching some new exciting and much needed projects as follows:

  • Support group/Coffee morning for SEND parents/carers, signposting individuals to current advocacy and support services out there and a platform to share their concerns and talk things over a cup of chai or coffee.
  • Weekly physical exercise classes for women  trying to get fit and struggling to motivate themselves
  • A parents/carer toddler group for preschool aged children
  • More cycling courses for beginners and those that want to become more road confident

What is the cultural significance of Ramadan to Al-Hilal as an organisation?

During Ramadan, Muslims aim to grow spiritually and become closer to their Lord, Allah, and their loved ones. We do this by fasting and abstaining from pleasures such as eating and drinking etc between sunrise and sunset each day. Ramadan is also a time for unity and spiritual reflection and Muslims spend time praying, reciting the Quran (holy book) and doing good actions such as donating to charities and visiting the sick. 

For Al-Hilal as an organisation, Ramadan allows us to reflect on our goals for the year ahead and to analyse what went well for our organisation and what activities we would like to offer. 

Do you have any events taking place for Ramadan this year and are you attending any run by other organisations?

We stop delivering our activities during the blessed month as the girls prefer to focus on their spiritual connection with their Creator and also it allows adults to take a little pause and reflect too.  We attend local community iftaris at mosques and Islamic centres, where we invite our non Muslim friends and colleagues to come and join us to open the fast with us over a nice hot meal.

As an organisation who are part of our Girls Powered project in collaboration with Sweaty Betty Foundation what has been your highlight of the project so far?

One of the many highlights of the project so far has been the sustained support and encouragement from SE and SBF, allowing Al-Hilal Regen to grow and develop to meet the needs of the local community and landing us as finalists for the Manchester Sports Awards 2022.  A beautiful example of EMPOWERMENT. 

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