This story is the second part of a two-part series from Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, one of EMM’s 12 affiliate partners. Read part one here.
Below is an interview with Tehmina, Volunteer & Community Outreach Liaison with Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston
Q: Provide a little background on yourself – why did you feel called to work so diligently to secure donations, whether financial, clothing, cars, etc. to support refugees?
Tehmina: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth” – Mohammad Ali, Philanthropist. This is my handwritten reminder that I see multiple times a day. Growing up in Pakistan, I saw my mother dedicate her life in service to others. For me, service became a part of my identify. It was not a duty but right that I gave others on me. Whether it was car, a bundle of clothing, trips to the hospital, financial gifts or holding someone’s hand with a warm smile – it was not what I did for them but what peace they gave me in being with them. I strive to build upon that.
Q: Why do feel volunteer work is so important, especially with a focus on refugees?
Tehmina: “And He gives you of all that you ask Him; and if you count Allah’s (God) favors; you will not be able to number them;” Quran 1:34
I feel Blessed to have so much in life. Not everyone is that fortunate. We must do our share towards trying to raise Humanity out of their sufferings and place a smile on their faces.
Refugees come – having lost their family members, their homes, their identity. They enter a world where they do not the language, the customs and the law of the Land. They have no one to call in the hour of need. I give them that number to call, a friend to trust. Wouldn’t I pray for such a light in the darkness around me? I must do for others that I would wish for myself.
Q:What have you received as a result of your dedication to helping others? Does this speak to your faith?
Tehmina: My volunteerism allows me to, “practice what I preach”. It is therapy to me. It allows me to find my inner peace and rejuvenate myself for facing the challenges in my life. It has allowed me to showcase compassion in front of my three daughters with the hope that one day they will follow in my footsteps. There can be no greater recognition than that.
Prophet Mohammed (Peace & Blessings upon Him) has remained my role model. The Migration of the handful of Muslims with him from the City of Makkah to Madina, inspired the refugee cause in me. Islam teaches us love and compassion for humanity. The Prophet’s life shows us that. I aspire to do so in his footsteps, redefining excellence as I continue ahead.
To learn more about Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, visit https://www.imgh.org/.
Support the work of Episcopal Migration Ministries at 12 affiliate partners in 10 communities across the U.S.