Islah Charitable and Social Welfare Society Implements the Biggest Orphanage in the Mideast Secretary General of the Society: “President Saleh is one of the most important donors” [Archives:2001/40/Interview]

October 1 2001

The Islah Charitable and Social Welfare Society is one of the largest and most active charitable non-governmental organizations in the country. It was the first Yemeni society to become a consultative member in the Economic Council of the United Nations. It has sponsored many charitable projects, especially in the health, education, social and development sectors.
Today, the society has 22 offices all over the Republic, 237 service committees, 15 health units, 98 health mobile clinics and 35 different projects. Mohammed Al-Masani met with Dr. Hamid Ziad Amin, General Secretary of the Society who highlighted more aspects of the society.
Q: What kind of projects has the Society implemented?
A: The Society focuses on health, society, education and development. It has built more than 23 health units, a good number of schools, as well as the Science University, and the Women’s Rehabilitation Center, which was financed by Sheikh Abdullah b. Hussein. The President Orphanage, which is the biggest project of its kind in the Mideast, is about to be completed. It costs about 600-700 million riyals.
We have also 95% completed a hospital for men with nerve diseases which will provide health services in conjunction with the women’s nerve disease hospital, which has been operating for nine years.
Q: What is your evaluation of charity in Yemen?
A: Organized charitable activities were first initiated by the Islah Society. Many societies were launched after that. It is a good thing that we have been always encouraging, as long as the goal of these societies is not materialistic or personal gain. We have adopted more than 13,000 orphans. Still, are there thousands of orphans in the Republic, so there is a chance for every society to do as we do.
Q: It is rumored that some charitable societies are profit-making. Is that true?
A: All societies which have been created for personal gain are doomed to fail.
Q: What kind of problems do you have?
A: Problems exist for any charitable activities. We are sometimes accused of making personal use of the money we generate. To avoid this, we always hand a voucher to the donor. This is not the end of it, for he even knows where his money has been spent.
Q: Who supports the society?
A: About 90 percent of our funding comes from beneficent people. Thank God that we have won people and organizations’ confidence and trust. This is because donors know on what their money is spent.
Yemeni people in general, and traders in particular, are very generous and kind.
Q: Do you cooperate with other organizations?
A: There is a little cooperation. All kinds of cooperation with them are limited to charitable activities.
Q: Do you have relations with Arab and foreign societies or organizations?
A: We have built up good relations and contacts with many Islamic and charitable organizations. There are projects jointly financed and monitored by our society and other Arab and Islamic organizations.
Q: What about your relations with the UNESCO?
A: The Islah Charitable Society is the first Yemeni organization to become a consultative member in the Economic Council of the United Nations. It is something that Yemenis should be proud of.
Q: Some people believe that the Islah society is an organ of the Islah political party. Is it true?
A: The Islah Charitable society was founded before political parties were allowed to come to being. It is by coincidence that its name is the same as the Islah party; they are absolutely unlinked. That is a political party while our society is a charitable organization.
Q: How was the Orphan Festival?
A: The Festival was organized at a time that we were awaiting the completion of the President Orphanage. More than 100 renowned Arab and foreign Islamic scholars attended the festival.
We are planning to adopt more than 7,000 orphans.
Q: What kind of assistance do you provide for the Palestinian people?
A: We do provide assistance for many human disasters and problems. We supported the Palestinian cause even before the breakout of the Intifada.
We present aid to orphans, widows and families of martyrs. The Society has assisted people in Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Somalia and Eritrea.
Q: Your last word?
A: I call upon charitable societies to devote themselves to charity. I also urge Yemenis to be generous with charitable societies in order to help relieve the misery of a lot of people. One can be unsure where his charity should be directed to. Charitable societies know more about the most needy people in society.