Laal x Local Zakat Fundraiser - Covid-19 Relief Fund
Laal is a 501c3 which provides resources to Bengali women in the Bronx so that they can live healthy, engaged and joyful lives. For the past year, we have provided Bengali women in our community with a safe space where they can practice literacy and conversational skills as well as learn about health and wellness.
Laal’s community members are one of the poorest in New York. Bengalis have some of the lowest literacy rates and live in close quarters, making this a community extremely susceptible to the virus. Since the pandemic was announced Laal has been doing everything we can to educate our community about precautionary measures. We are continuing to update the community via phone about the latest announcements.
Because of covid-19 we have had to cancel many of our programs. However, we know this is a critical time and our community needs support.
Here is what we are doing and how you can help support us:
LAAL X LOCAL ZAKAT - ADDRESSING LOST JOBS & HOSPITALIZATIONS - DIRECT-AID EMERGENCY CASH
Laal is partnering with Local Zakat, a local collective that helps those at home, to create an emergency fund for those who need support with bills, medical expenses, groceries or any other covid-19 related expenses. Many of our community members have lost their jobs, are hospitalized, or taking care of sick parents or grandparents, and are struggling to keep on top of their expenses. Two-thirds of the proceeds will support our emergency fund.
HOPE FOR A FUTURE WITHOUT COVID-19 - LAAL FALL PROGRAMS
Laal is anticipating doubling our participation rate for all classes next year. We are also expanding our programs to include workshops in mental health, nutrition, cybersecurity and more. We are hopeful that despite all of the most recent cancellations that we will be able to operate in the Fall. One-third of all proceeds will support the implementation of our Fall programs.
HOW IS LAAL ALLOCATING RESOURCES?
Laal has been working in the community for over the last 2 years providing critical resources. We have a strong relationship with community members. We are planning to get the word out via phone calls and find out who needs the most support through or participants. We’ll also respond to those who reach out to us directly.
The health and well-being of our staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries are important to us. We have been conducting phone calls to inform our community about best practices in Bangla using CDC and WHO guidelines.
ALL DONATIONS TO LAAL ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.
- PAYPAL OR VENMO: @laal-nyc (Please note the group or team member who referred you to donate)
- To donate via check email [email protected] for details.
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL @LaalNYC @LocalZakat
Need support such as groceries or direct aid? DM us on Instagram @laalnyc or Email [email protected]
COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Adds Charitable Deduction in 2020: A temporary charitable income tax deduction is in place through 2020, which will enable taxpayers who claim the standard deduction to deduct up to $300 of their contributions to charitable organizations from their income. That means that if you donate to LAAL in 2020, you'll be able to deduct up to $300 of your donation from your taxes, even if you take the standard deduction!
ABOUT LOCAL ZAKAT
Local Zakat is a non-profit collective that raises funds to support struggling members in local areas of New York City. In the Muslim community, charity is emphasized and even obligated by the Islamic faith. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims tend to give the most charity not only out of genuine compassion but as a form of Zakat. Zakat is the obligated annual payment made by Muslims towards charity. In Arabic, Zakat literally translates to -- that which purifies; Muslims view the act of giving as one way of purifying themselves from misdeeds or religious shortcomings.
Local Zakat started as an initiative to direct people to give in charity to those nearest to them. Local Zakat collects donations and distributes it in various ways. They make and give baskets with staple goods and household essentials, buy and deliver groceries, aid individuals with medical bills and provide relief for other sources of financial struggles.
Fatima Uddin and Salma Ahmed founded Local Zakat during Ramadan 2017. Coming from low-income communities, they witnessed their very own neighbors struggling behind closed doors. Their journey continues with the mission to help those at home.
Laal means red in Bangla. Laal symbolizes the mark of menstruation; the alta Bengali women use to adorn themselves; the red saree Bengali women wear on their wedding day; the red bindi for which Bengali women are famous; and the red sun which is in the center of the Bangladeshi flag. We chose this as our name because it serves as a reminder of the strength and resilience of Bengali women.
Bengalis are one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in New York City. According to the Asian American Federation’s profile on New York City’s Bangladeshi Americans, the Bangladeshi population grew 42% in three years, from 34,237 in 2008 to 48,677 in 2011. About twenty percent of that population resides in the Bronx. On top of that, Bangladeshis are among the poorest Asian ethnic groups in the city. Overall, one in three Bangladeshis lives below the poverty line.
Although Bengalis are a fast-growing immigrant population, the resources to meet the demand of this growing community is scarce, especially in the Bronx. Bengali women are among the most underserved minority group. Even as this community has grown in the past 30 years, Norwood Bengali women continue to be isolated from each other and there are no organizations that work directly with this group. There are high levels of depression, and the cultural stigma of domestic violence prevents many women from reaching out to each other or anyone inside of their communities for support. Currently, Norwood, Bronx has no non-profits or secular institutions that work directly with this community. Laal aims to provide the much-needed resources that this community needs.
LAAL IN THE NEWS
Norwood News: A Bengali Women’s Empowerment Group Walks A Tightrope in Norwood
News 12: Norwood women create non-profit dedicated to helping Bengali women
ABOUT LAAL’S FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE
The Fundraising Committee is a standing committee with goals of raising and collecting donations to secure the stability and financial viability of the organization. Our team is made of passionate members who are driven to reach out to their respective networks and advocate for the cause. Committee Members are Saveri Nandigama, Local Zakat, Mahum Siddiqui, Bangladesh Development Project, Saher Jafri Arts, Bushra Alam, Saiya Sheth, Jafreen Uddin, and Zulekha Haider.
Laal's team is a group of dedicated individuals who are passionate about their community. Our team includes Sanjana Khan, Executive Director & co-founder; Ayesha Akhtar board chair & co-founder; Nazneen Lenu, community outreach coordinator; Tania Wahdud, outreach manager; Ishrat Aishee, grants coordinator; Maisha Khan, fundraising coordinator; Sumaiya Tasneem, lead ESL instructor; Jonas Stankovich, accountant; Tiffany Joy Butler, ESL instructor; Salma Ahmed, marketing coordinator & wellness instructor; Monika Khan, wellness instructor; in addition to many volunteers.
The co-founders Sanjana Khan and Ayesha Akhtar grew up in the Norwood section of the Bronx. They witnessed the Bengali women in their community, including their own mothers, struggle to balance their new lives in America. Having grown up in the neighborhood that they work in means that both Khan and Akhtar operate from a place of love and care. They are inspired by the strength and resilience of our own mothers, aunts, and sisters. They want Laal to provide the community with resources that they wish their own mothers had.