Sydney Mus­lim com­mu­nity digs deep for west­ern farm­ers

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By JOHN RYAN

WHEN it comes to drought ap­peals to help stricken farm­ers, Aus­tralia’s Mus­lim com­mu­nity hasn’t been in the head­lines but, from a stand­ing start on Au­gust 18, char­i­ta­ble or­gan­isa- tion Hu­man Ap­peal Aus- tralia launched its Farm- ers Drought Ap­peal and raised $90,000 in just a cou­ple of months.

And west­ern gra­ziers were the ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Hu­man Ap­peal has a long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with Dubbo-based Fletcher In­ter­na­tional Ex­ports and so the char­ity group was keen to dis­trib­ute hay bought from the money they raised to farm­ers in this re­gion.

Co­bar Shire Coun­cil has a sis­ter city re­la­tion­ship with Can­ter­bury Bankstown Coun­cil where a lot of the money was raised, so the coun­try shire helped with al­lo­ca­tions to farm­ers in that area.

Fletch­ers or­gan­ised a num­ber of War­ren busi­nesses to iden­tify those farm­ers most in need and then draw 10 names out of a hat.

The Hu­man Ap­peal team said they were con­cerned not only about the fu­ture of Aus­tralia’s sheep­meat in­dus­try dur­ing such a long and tor­rid drought, but also about the wel­fare of the gra­ziers who pro­duce the meat they buy.

Hu­man Ap­peal chair­man Riyad Qasim and the City of Can­ter­bury Bankstown Coun­cil­lor Bi­lal El-hayek were among the crew who headed out west to en­sure the do­na­tions had a hu­man face to them.

Mr Qasim handed out hay vouch­ers to farm­ers af­fected the most in Co­bar and War­ren.

“The vouch­ers en­abled them to col­lect their bales of hay in­stantly and the farm­ers ex­pressed their grat­i­tude and ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the gen­er­ous donors who con­trib­uted to this great cause,” Mr Qasim said.

Rusty Mitchel, a farmer of Co­bar, thanked Hu­man Ap­peal’s donors for stand­ing with farm­ers not only fi­nan­cially but also for emo­tional sup­port dur­ing the pro­longed drought and ru­ral hard­ship.

He said he ap­pre­ci­ated the fact that, hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres away, some­one cared and stood be­side him dur­ing these tough times.

Mr Qasim said he was grat­i­fied at the sup­port from Sydney’s Mus­lim com­mu­nity.

“Many thanks to our gen­er­ous com­mu­nity for show­ing sol­i­dar­ity with our Aussie farm­ers by sup­port­ing the cause and help­ing many farm­ers who were at the brink of los­ing their farms due to the se­vere drought,” Mr Qasim said.

“We highly ap­pre­ci­ate our com­mu­nity’s con­tri­bu­tion.

“With their gen­eros­ity, they are not just help­ing farm­ers, in fact, they are help­ing their own fam­i­lies and the whole Aus­tralian com­mu­nity,” he said.

Farmer Rusty Mitchell and HAA chair­man Riyad Qasim in Co­bar. PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

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