Sydney Muslim community digs deep for western farmers
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