Calgary, Dec. 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dawoodi Bohra communities around the world are focusing their 2019 Annual Upliftment Drive on providing support and conversation to elderly members of society.
Every year, as part of the Dawoodi Bohra Upliftment Drive, thousands of Bohra volunteers around the world undertake initiatives to raise the living standards of less fortunate members of society who need additional support in terms of housing, food, health and spiritual wellbeing. This year, Bohras are volunteering in over 500 cities worldwide to identify senior citizens in need of physical or emotional support, and then offering a range of activities, including recreation, medical check-ups, and boosting mental health through conversation, a change in surroundings, and interaction with their peers. As well as being an expression of gratitude, these programs enable younger generations to benefit from the guidance of their experienced elders, while giving the elders a platform to share their needs.
A member of the Bohra’s Calgary community, Hasnain Jack, said, “The leader of the Dawoodi Bohras, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, has always guided the community towards respect and care of elders. He recently stated, “we should take care of our elders, take them out for leisure to freshen their minds. The blessings and prayers we will receive in return will be of great benefit.” Every society owes its elders a huge debt of gratitude, but due to the pressures of modern life we often ignore them. It is imperative that we prioritize caring for the elderly and give them the attention they deserve.”
This year’s Dawoodi Bohra Upliftment Drive activities included
- In the U.S., the Bohra community of Detroit provided seniors with chair yoga, health screenings and nutritious meals. In San Jose and Fremont, California, games, experience sharing and healthy food brought Bohras together with elderly members of the community. A total of 1,814 elders were supported throughout the United States.
- In Canada, the Bohra community of Vancouver provided local seniors with a healthy lunch and physical activities, including yoga instruction and bowling. In Mississauga, seniors were offered physiotherapy sessions, a comedy show and a formal lunch. And in Calgary, Bohras offered seniors a scenic drive and played memory games.
- In Leicester, UK, young Bohras held a Q&A session on elder community members’ unique experiences in younger life. Across the UK, a total of 1,048 elders were given support.
- Bohras of Bali, Indonesia played memory games with local seniors, while community members in Singapore offered foot massages, “laughter yoga”, and a quiz organized by school children. Bohras in Doha, Qatar, enabled seniors to share their experiences over meals and games
According to the World Health Organization, between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%. However, there is little evidence to suggest that older people today are experiencing their later years in better health than their parents. Research shows that people who are unexpectedly alone due to the death of a spouse or partner, separation from friends or family, retirement, loss of mobility, and lack of transportation are at particular risk of loneliness. Conversely, people who engage in meaningful activities with others tend to live longer, boost their mental health, and have a sense of purpose. Small gestures like those carried out in the Bohra’s Annual Upliftment Program can help change the lives of older people.
Murtaza Choilawala, a volunteer from the Bohra community of Tampa, said, “The problems of loneliness are very real and require us all to act. This year, the Bohras helped 1,814 elderly people in the United States alone. However, the Bohras regard alleviating loneliness among the elderly as our collective responsibility – not just during the Upliftment Drive but throughout the year.”
The Annual Upliftment Drive draws inspiration from one of the most fundamental teachings of Islam, that a balanced and well-rounded approach to life, which leads to both temporal as well as spiritual growth and advancement, is something each individual should strive for.
About the Dawoodi Bohras
Dawoodi Bohras are Muslims hailing mainly from West India. With one million members around the world, Bohras play important roles in their local societies. There are 14,000 Bohra families living in the United States, and 4,000 in Canada. As part of a deep commitment to their faith, Bohras place great emphasis on women empowerment, enhancing the natural environment, and engagement with other faiths, a love for one’s country. With a focus on hard work and education, many North American Dawoodi Bohras are doctors, IT professionals, teachers, academics and successful business people.
Many of the values at the core of the Bohra faith – including eradicating poverty and hunger, improving health and education, gender equality, avoiding waste, and preserving the natural environment – align very closely with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For centuries, Bohras around the world have been living their daily lives according to these principles, regularly taking practical action to support members of society who most need help. For more information, please visit www.thedawoodibohras.com.