My experience as a Participant for AAWA

By Sajida Rashid

Waking up early morning on Saturday 27th of August was a very daunting experience. The clearly branded top was appealing to me and I wore it with pride. By deciding to walk for AAWA, I was not only contributing to the donations but I was also interested in quenching the thirst of thousands of families in a deprived village in Kenya, my home country. In my mind, I was only going to walk for 5km.

With my heart pulsating away and a bit of excitement, I drove to Hujjat Stanmore. To my astonishment, I was greeted by a group of 10 girls/ ladies holding an awesome banner named ‘Bibi Khadija’ – this was my team name. All the teams were named after wonderful woman in Islam. Some of the girls were my Alumni of the Islamic Montesori school, and I could also see a few of my ex-parents.

Gaining some spirtual strength after the recitation of Ziyarat Ashura, we walked to the starting line and were cheered off by the organisers. I had an amazing sincere walking partner Femina Rajpal who respectfully walked at my pace. Mind you, not snails pace! But a bit faster than a tortoise I reckon!

Along the route, we were cheered by amazing marshals. Successfully, I completed 7km and with the cheering of the incredible volunteers, I continued my walk. By wearing the branded top, we brought public consciousness to this fantastic cause. A Jewish lady on her way to the synagogue stopped us and and enquired about what we were walking for. With fun and laughter, I reached the infamous Stanmore Hill. Now that was a struggle! But Femina encouraged and cheered me and guaranteed me to be my pair of roller skates.

Alhamdulillah, I felt a great sense of achievement when I completed my 10km, and was welcomed back to the centre and cheered by the team. I was so emotional with the hugs and cheers that awaited me. Pride and joy was written all over me when Masumabai Alloo handed me my finishing medal.

My biggest thanks goes to the Stanmore Jafferys team. They are a vital success holding events such as charity walks and marathons and this forms an integral part of our lives.

Many thanks goes to Fatima Chagpar who assisted me in setting up the donation page and after receiving £500 worth of donations in 48 hours, she encouraged to go for more. Alhamdulillah, donations reached over a £1000.