Ibrahim’s office is organised, efficient, and exactly as you would expect it to be. As a professional working on development projects for a global NGO, Ibrahim is at home navigating a complex web of challenges, drawing on a mixture of training, formal academic qualifications, and life experience. Despite his maturity and the responsibilities he fulfils, Ibrahim is still a very young man, and his face shines with passion and energetic enthusiasm for what he does. Today, however, we are not here to talk about his work – we are here to talk about his life.
A most difficult startIbrahim was born in a refugee camp in East Sudan and became an orphan at 11 years old. His story, though heart-breaking, is not surprising – the dangers present within the camp environment mean that life expectancy is short, and many children lose their parents before adulthood. Already afflicted by extreme depravation, Ibrahim and his siblings were brought to the attention of Ethar Relief, a global NGO specialising in alleviating poverty and suffering in East Africa.
The children were immediately enrolled into Ethar’s Orphan Sponsorship Programme, which takes holistic care of the needs of orphans by providing them clothing, food, and medicine, as well as finding them a place at school. This moment proved life-changing for Ibrahim, as his worries after parental loss melted away and a world of opportunity and possibility was revealed.
Hope, opportunity, and potential
Ibrahim began to flourish from the moment he started receiving good quality care, regular nutritious meals, and access to a well-rounded education. He proved to be exceptionally bright and capable of anything he put his mind to. Ibrahim rapidly excelled through Ethar’s Al Mustaqbal secondary boarding school, and progressed to receive a full university scholarship.
Ibrahim speaks passionately about the nurturing environment of the Al Mustaqbal School. In his own words, Ibrahim was encouraged and supported by the “best teachers” who provided the “best environment for learning”. The environment not only helped him to study in the English medium and reach the top of his English club at school, it also gave him a focus away from his traumatic early life. Speaking to Ibrahim now, he conducts calls and interviews in impeccable and precise English (one of three languages he is fluent in), dealing with a variety of stakeholders from around the globe. Ibrahim humbly insists this confidence was instilled in him by his secondary school teachers.
While at university, Ibrahim was supported by Ethar Relief through a sufficient stipend to enable him to complete his studies to the best of his ability. This is a unique feature of Ethar’s sponsorship programme – the organisation will work with sponsors and donors to ensure that the right support is given, suited to the needs of each child and continuing if required into young adulthood. Within a few short years, Ibrahim emerged as a graduate in computer science from a recognised institution in Sudan.
Paying it forward: Ibrahim today
Ibrahim talks with passion about the support he received from Ethar Relief. He is humble about his own brilliance, and instead focuses on how bespoke support can transform a life such as his. He suggests that if Ethar’s Orphan Programme was just a simple and impersonal bursary, he may have been fed and kept healthy, but he would never have excelled to the point of his current qualifications and further achievements. The responsiveness and personalised care provided by Ethar Relief, Ibrahim asserts, is the key to helping the next generation find a pathway for themselves to build their future outside refugee camps. Food, clothes, and box-ticking is not enough to uplift children to achieve their potential.
Today, Ibrahim’s life has come full circle. He is now a Project Manager for Ethar Relief, working in the Sudan office. His daily work involves implementing humanitarian projects for the refugee camps that he is so familiar with. He possesses a unique drive to deliver the very best for his community, and his work is recognised and cherished by the refugees he serves. Ibrahim is an inspiration to us and to everyone around him.
“You’d never think he was a refugee orphan”
Ibrahim hears this comment a lot from people he meets in his professional capacity. But what is a refugee orphan except for a child just like our own? A child with hopes, dreams, and needs – a child with the ability to achieve anything when given a fair opportunity to do so.
Ibrahim has an analogy about supporting orphans in a comprehensive and holistic way. He believes that sponsoring an orphan is like watering a seed. The additional support provided is the good soil, shelter, and optimal environmental conditions. If the support for the seed is right, it will flourish and grow into a tree whose branches can then provide shelter and shade to others. In time, this tree will shed seeds of its own into the ground. Ibrahim’s aim is to help others achieve their potential, and this is the noble work he has committed his life towards.
About Ethar Relief
Ethar Relief was established more than a decade ago by former refugees who are descendants of the people of Abyssinia. We know what it’s like to feel suffering and persecution. Many of our Ethar Family, who now work with us, have fled conflict and feared for their lives. We never want anyone to suffer from this ever again.
We commit, with every ounce of our determination and effort, to do everything in our power to help refugees in East Africa and Yemen.
Please help these forgotten people stand up strong and live dignified and stable lives.
Become a sponsor of an orphan refugee through Ethar Relief’s Orphan Sponsorship programme. To find out more, click here or call +44 121 309 0230 to discuss what your sponsorship pays for.
The views expressed on Islam21c and its connected channels do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation.