The management of Al-Waagah Islamic Institute for the Deaf, located in the heart of Athlone, will, for the first time in its history, send 50 deaf elderly men and women for Umrah (pilgrimage). The project is a first for the organisation and one of its biggest ever. Faizal Sayed, the head of Deen Channel in Rylands Estate, says with the news of the religious trip being confirmed for February, their TV station (a project partner), has now been tasked to collect much needed items for the group before their holy journey.“I have committed myself to the institute for the deaf, that between me, my family, work colleagues, viewers and friends; we will contribute 50 sets of ihraam,” he says.The ihraam consists of shrouds made out of white cloth and entails a sacred state of dress code Muslims must wear in order to complete the rituals of the pilgrimage. “I am simply asking the public to donate one set of ihraam to someone, male or female, who will wear this on his or her Umrah. To take 50 deaf persons who have never been on Hajj or Umrah is a huge task and you (public) can be part of that.”Just minutes after posting his request on social media earlier last week, Sayed already received several calls from the public to drop-off ihraams at his office.“Within minutes, social media was ablaze with financial contributions, pledges and the public dropping numerous packages at Deen Channel’s office. This started with a simple call for assistance, and it has now turned out into a full-blown support campaign for 50 deaf people going on Umrah.” He says many of the travellers are being incentivised as they are committed and are regular attendees of the institute’s madrassa. “This according to Al-Waagah’s principal, Farahneez Hassiem, who asserted that understanding the fundamental rights of the Umrah, experiencing and honing in on an enhanced sensory for the experience of the Umrah was crucial to the project. “For the deaf, seeing the holy precincts, usually unable to hear the recitals may just be a welcomed spiritual and emotional boost. More is required when embarking on a project of this nature as travellers require medicines, toiletries and additional food.“I visited the institute and emotions overcame me to know and understand that these people sacrifice much, and if we are able to put a smile on their faces then we have done something positive in the life of another individual. The public is requested to get involved in this historical trip,” he adds. V To donate towards the Umrah project, or to drop off much needed ihraams at the Deen Channel premises, contact 021 200 0602 or info@Deenchannel.com. You can also call Al-Waagah Islamic Institute for the Deaf directly on 021 638 3368, 073 386 8887 or 074 579 7266.