Al-Zahoor Welfare Foundation
Al-Zahoor Welfare Foundation is a Nourish Bangladesh vetted non-profit that offers Gift Aid for charitable donations made by UK citizens (Al-Zahoor Welfare Foundation is registered with HMRC). Any donations made here will be directly transferred to Al-Zahoor Welfare Foundation. Nourish Bangladesh does not receive the funds donated here.
Who is Al-Zahoor Welfare Foundation?
Al-Zahoor Welfare Foundation (AZWF) is a small family-run charity based in the UK. They began in January 2017 when a group of siblings conceived the idea of donating their family-owned land and property in Bangladesh to a charity in memory of their late father, Zahurul Haque Choudhury. They now have a number of welfare projects in Bangladesh, including a school and orphanage in the village of Noldaria, Moulvibazar as well as rice and fish farms to help feed the children and create jobs for the local poor. Besides other projects in the area and elsewhere in Bangladesh, they are also regularly involved in the Rohingya Refugee Camps, where they helped set up 90 shelters and 50 water-wells and continue to support other initiatives such as during Ramadan and Eid. They have engaged in Covid-19 related relief efforts since the beginning of the pandemic, and is actively responding to the floods as of July 2020. AZWF is a secular, non-government, non-political organization that operates in accordance with Islamic guidelines to ensure the proper distribution of Zakat funds and reliance on ethical funding sources.
As a small NGO, Al-Zahoor Welfare Foundation provides donors in the UK a direct and highly effective channel for charity work in Bangladesh. AZWF can internally absorb any relevant overhead costs and has promised that 100% of a donor’s money will reach the poor. AZWF is also a good candidate for any donors interested in appropriate distribution of their Zakat funds. With funding from Nourish Bangladesh, AZWF will focus their relief efforts in the Satkhira district, which is one of the areas severely affected by the floods this summer and therefore most in need of help in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
Responses to Vetting Questions
These responses are based on our correspondences with Mr. Shabs Chouhudry at Al-Zahoor Welfare Foundation (AZWF), and our independent research of information available on their official website. In particular, we focus on AZWF's general activities and their plans for using the funds donated through our fundraising campaign. We researched and asked the same set of standard questions to the other NGOs we vetted as well.
Question: With our donation, what is the geographical spread of the relief recipient (e.g. Dhaka city, rural Mymensingh, etc.)?
Response: We work mainly in Moulvibazar town and surrounding local rural areas. We also have Covid Relief programs operating in Nabiganj, Netrokona and Brahmanbaria rural areas. However, based on our understanding of the situation, right now there is a greater need in the Satkhira district which is severely affected by the floods and not as well served. So we will use your donations towards relief efforts in Satkhira.
Question: With our donation, which groups will be helped (e.g. LGBTQ community, Transgender community, street children, Garo indigenous population, sex workers, gypsy community)?
Response: Our relief programs are open to all needy people, regardless of the group type, ethnicity and affiliation..
Question: With our donation, will you reach out to the Rohingyas?
Response: It is currently not possible for us to do so as the Rohingya camp we operate in is in strict lockdown. However, if lockdown there eases then we are also intending to distribute Covid relief packages to the Rohingya.
Question: Can you give us a price breakdown of how much money is spent towards food relief (e.g. with 1000 taka we offer lentils, rice, onions, and potato for a family of 4 for two weeks) or how much cash is handed to each household (e.g. 1800 taka for each adult in a household)?
Response: We are currently working on developing three type of food packages that is suitable for the needs of flood affected individuals in Satkhira. The packages consist of basic dry food (rice, lentils, etc.) that will feed a family of four for either one week, for two weeks, or for a month. We will be sharing the details and cost shortly. We also distribute cash directly to impacted families for Covid relief. The cash distribution differs depending on the size and situation of the household but is approximately 2500 taka per person in the household.
Question: We prefer our donations be used for cash transfers or food relief. Nonetheless, what type of other services, if any, other than food relief or cash transfer will be provided with our donations?
Response: We provide a variety of other relief services as per our website: www.al-zahoor.org. However, for all donations to the specific Covid Program, we will be distributing food packages or cash donations only.
Question: Can you ensure our donation money is spent only on food relief or cash transfer? If not, can you provide a list of services our fund will be used for?
Response: As per above, we will only be providing food packages and cash with the donation money. Depending on how the situation progresses we may also provide help towards medical costs in the future.
Question: Are you able to customize your food relief or cash transfer efforts based on what we want the donation to be used for?
Response: It may be possible to customize the food package depending on your request.
Question: Do you have any mechanism to ensure transparency of exactly where our money is going?
Response: Yes - we keep full records of each person helped including names and addresses and full records of all our donations and how it was spent. But this will be very difficult if not impossible in some cases, especially in flood-affected areas where people have lost their homes. However, we can still record names and basic contact details for relief recipients. We also take photos and videos of our work to aid transparency in our projects.
Question: Can you give us an estimate of what percentage of our donation is used up in overhead cost i.e. if we donate £1000, what fraction of that will go directly to the poor?
Response: As we are a small family run charity, our admin costs are low and are paid by the family and directors of the charity do not take any salary or expenses; thus, we aim for a 100% donation policy and further maximize this by using local volunteers on the ground for packaging and distribution. The only costs we cannot avoid is the payment fees that Stripe and PayPal charge if donations are made via our website or credit card. However, if a donation is made directly to our charity bank account then these costs are avoided.
Question: Is your organization secular or religiously-affiliated? Does this affect who you serve?
Response: We are a secular organization that is guided by Islamic principles. This does not affect who we serve and our doors are open to all needy and destitute people and we do not discriminate in any form.
Question: Can you give us a very brief history of your relevant past efforts that makes you uniquely suited to carry out relief efforts in the face of Covid-19?
Response: We have been operating in Bangladesh for the last four years and our projects including housing, water, food and education programs in the Rohingya camps, Iftar packages during Ramadan, Fitr Food packages, regular Zakat cash distribution to the most needy, widows and orphans as well operating medical and eye camps in rural areas and relief projects for flooding and winter. We also run an Academy and Orphanage that provides food, shelter and education in MolviBazar. To date, we have distributed over 1500 Covid food parcels and £5000 in Covid Cash donations.
Question: Do you have any mechanism in place to ensure that you are aware of which households are getting help from the government, so as to avoid overlapping coverage with government efforts?
Response: AZWF official carry out checks to ensure relief is going to the right people and assess if help is already being provided from elsewhere including the government. In cases where we feel that help from elsewhere is not enough then we will consider also helping with our efforts.
Question: Do you have any results from non-profit assessment organizations (i.e. Givewell)?