The Commonwealth Games will start in Birmingham next Thursday, 28 July. Ahead of this, two Islamic Relief UK volunteers, Rifhat Malik MBE and Dr Zak Rob, had the honour of carrying the Queen’s baton through Leeds and Huddersfield.
Rob left with the baton at 11:58am on 12 July from Westgate, Huddersfield, and finished at Trinity St, Huddersfield. Malik then left with the baton at 6:30pm on 12 July from Briggate, Leeds, and finished at the Headrow, Leeds.
Carrying the Queen’s baton is a significant honour. It is carried across the country by bearers with incredible backstories, who have had a remarkable impact on their communities – in this case Rob and Malik, chosen for their admirable contributions to Islamic Relief UK.
Islamic Relief: empowering people and saving lives
Islamic Relief UK is a faith-inspired, development and humanitarian agency working to transform the lives of the most vulnerable people. Set up by a group of medical doctors and activists in Birmingham in 1984, the organisation has since helped over 120 million people worldwide and have empowered people to lift themselves out of poverty in over 40 countries.
Working in countries such as Syria and Yemen, Islamic Relief UK aims to strengthen the ability of the most marginalised communities to withstand both conflict and natural disaster and to rebuild their lives and futures. Islamic Relief UK is one of the biggest non-governmental organisations in Yemen, saving lives in 18 of the country’s 22 governorates. Regardless of race, religion or gender, Islamic Relief UK promotes sustainable economic and social development through working with local communities.
Inspiring baton bearers
Zak Rob has been a volunteer for Islamic Relief’s Charity Week since 2016 and has inspired thousands of volunteers across the UK through his efforts and commitment. He has encouraged other volunteers to replicate the campaign globally, raising millions of pounds for orphans and for children’s projects across the world.
Rifhat Malik is equally inspiring, having dedicated herself as an Islamic Relief UK volunteer for more than 20 years. She has helped to raise funds for a wide range of causes and also currently runs her own charity, Give a Gift, which delivers food and supplies to those in need in the Leeds and Bradford area.
Malik is conscious of the honour of being chosen to represent the transformative charity and, as she says, hopeful of the impact this might have:
“I am proud to be representing Islamic Relief and to be chosen to be a baton bearer for the Queen’s Commonwealth Games. I hope this helps to encourage and empower more women from diverse backgrounds to get involved with sport, fitness and exercise.”
Rob has also expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to represent the charity as a baton bearer:
“Each year it is amazing to see 1000s of volunteers globally unite and make a difference to countless orphans and children in need. In the last week of October 2021, volunteers across campuses and communities fundraised nearly £2million. It is a privilege to be able to represent all those volunteers during this occasion.
“For me, being a part of the Queen’s baton relay symbolises unity and collective effort which is important to us as Charity Week. The relay brings together and celebrates communities from across the Commonwealth and I hope we’re able to continue to grow and establish positive change through this.”
Well-deserved recognition for unsung heroes
Labelling the two as ‘unsung heroes’, Sajedah Lakhi, volunteer engagement manager at Islamic Relief, UK expressed his excitement for the event:
“We are proud of all our volunteers and for the invaluable contribution they make to Islamic Relief UK. We are thrilled that two of our volunteers have been selected for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“Rifhat and Dr Rob do so much to support their local community and help those less fortunate and we wouldn’t be able to do our lifesaving work without them.”
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