Jolkona donor continues family tradition of philanthropy
An interview with featured donor Mehwish Jalal
In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you the stories of Jolkona donors from all walks of life. Our first interview was with Mehwish Jalal, who started a tradition of donating to charity for her daughter’s birthday.
What motivates your giving?
I have donated to charities since I was in high school from my earnings in part-time work. In Islam we have a responsibility to practice zakÄt, or almsgiving â€” charitable giving by Muslims based on accumulated wealth. It is considered a personal responsibility for Muslims to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality. Giving to those who are less fortunate is something my parents instilled in me as a young child.
Tell me about how you raised funds for Jolkona projects for your daughter’s birthday.
My daughter Amaya turned one last year, and for her birthday party we didn’t want any gifts, any gift cards or money for Amaya, because with God’s grace, we have the ability to get her whatever she needs. I wanted this to be a start for her to realize how lucky we are to have what we have.
So for her first birthday, I asked everyone to donate money to Jolkona. Nadia, Jolkona’s CEO, gave me a couple of organizations that were in need of aid. I went on the Jolkona website, did my research and printed out information about the different projects. I had a table set up at the birthday party with information on the different organizations, along with a box for people to drop cash or checks. I had also informed my guests of this project in the party invitation, along with links to each organization to which I intended to donate. Some of my guests donated directly on Jolkonaâ€™s website.
People were quite generous. I probably raised about $600 to $700 dollars. As Amaya grows older, I can tell her that, instead of her receiving clothes and toys for her birthday, we raised money to go to someone who really, really needs it.
I’d like to make it a tradition for Amaya to donate money for her birthday every year. Just to teach her what it’s like to be in our situation versus other children who lack simple necessities such as food and clothing.
What do you like about donating through Jolkona?
I like the fact that it’s very convenient and trustworthy. The screening [that Jolkona does] is very important, because you want to make sure that your money is going to a legitimate organization. Even though you see charities on TV or you hear about them on the radio, you don’t know how reliable they are. So this is why I trusted Jolkona.
I also like the fact that you get updates on whether the program you donated to has been completed or who it impacted. You get a personal experience with who you’re donating to.
Mehwish’s story shows that, with a little creativity, anyone can raise funds for causes they care about. You don’t have to have a lot of money, or even a lot of time. What creative strategies have you used to raise money for charity?
If you’d like to be a featured donor, please contact allegra.abramo (at) jolkona (dot) org.
Mehwish Jalal is a marketing and graphic design professional in the San Francisco Bay Area. When she’s not busy caring for her daughter, she indulges her passion for interior design. Every week she attends an Islamic-focused women’s group that tries to enrich what they have learned about religion from their parents so they can pass it on to their own children and others outside of the Muslim community.