Established in 2009, Project Ramadan fundraises, assembles and distributes baskets containing staple food items that help recipients - regardless of race, nationality or ethnicity - create healthy, balanced meals during the holy month of Ramadan. Hundreds of generous and enthusiastic volunteers from across the city band together to make this initiative possible.
As a program of the Muslim Welfare Centre of Toronto (MWC), Project Ramadan has proudly raised more than $1 million and successfully dispensed more than 15,000 baskets through the MWC's food bank network of more than 11,000 community members.
Since day one, every basket built has been distributed through the MWC's Halal Food and Essential Items Bank, with a network of more than 11,000 registered users.
The Muslim Welfare Centre (MWC) was established in 1993 with a simple mantra and mission, "Service to humanity is service to Allah." Since its inception, the MWC has created and run many beneficial community programs such as Meals on Wheels for seniors, a free medical clinic for the uninsured, Regent Park meals service, public school nutrition programs and three food banks, just to name a few.
Omar Imran has been part of the Project Ramadan team since 2010 when he got involved in the charitable initiative helping build baskets at one of the first events. Feeling excited and inspired, Omar joined the executive committee in 2011, and now currently leads social media and marketing for Project Ramadan. During Ramadan, he is always amazed to see the community come together and raise awareness. Omar hopes to continue spreading the good word about Project Ramadan through the countless social media tools at his disposal.
Omar currently works at Samsung and is involved in all things digital and eCommerce within the Marketing team. In his spare time, Omar enjoys playing basketball and catching up on the newest movie or TV show.
Quote to live by: "The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs
Talha is a Project Director at Manulife Financial, overseeing global programs and projects ranging from $1M - $10M. Talha was first introduced to Project Ramadan by his later brother, Moaz Ahmed, in 2009 as this was a place to meet new people, give back to the community and a place to leave an impact helping others. What Talha enjoys most about Project Ramadan is seeing volunteers from all over the city come together and get in the Ramadan spirit giving up their weekend to help others. Talha is also an active board member of The Carroll Family Foundation, a not-for-profit started by DeMarre Carroll which looks to find a cure for liver disease and works with some of the best clinics in North America.
In his spare time, Talha can be seen on the basketball court draining jump-shots or nailing his silky smooth floaters.
Quote to live by: “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life” - Mohammad Ali
Avais Sethi has been volunteering with project Ramadan since 2013. In 2014, he took a more prominent role in the organization by joining the executive committee. Avais is responsible for creating and maintaining the Project Ramadan website, as well as preparing donor and volunteer email templates. He is very excited about being part of giving Project Ramadan a new image that he hopes will lead to a broader reach, more donations and ultimately, more baskets. Avais hopes that in the future, the organization will expand enough to help individuals across the country.
Avais is a Software Developer for the consulting firm Kinetic Cafe. He creates all different types of mobile applications for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. Avais has a Bachelor of Business Management and Master of Marketing, and is currently pursuing a Diploma in Computer Programming. In his spare time, Avais composes, writes, and records music, plays guitar, and runs. Being originally from New York, he has embraced the Canadian lifestyle and has grown incredibly fond of ketchup chips.
Quote to live by: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Aiysha is a Business Systems Specialist with Metrolinx GO Transit. Aiysha started volunteering for Project Ramadan in 2015, where she attended the Build Events. Project Ramadan truly inspired her as it was the perfect opportunity to help those in need, regardless race, religion or ethnicity. In 2016, Aiysha joined the Executive Committee where she was able to contribute her time and efforts to what she felt was such an important initiative for the community. One thing that resonates with Aiysha is that she knows at the end of the day, someone's life will be changed in a positive way through the work of Project Ramadan. It is truly heart-warming to see the determination and tenacity of the volunteers, who all have the same goal - simply to help those in need.
Words to live by: "And still, after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, 'You owe Me.' Look what happens with a love like that; it lights the Whole Sky." - Rumi
Akber Ali started working with Project Ramanda in 2015. After attending the first build, he was instantly hooked. To find a project where young Muslims were uniting for the common purpose of helping those who are in need, he finally found what he was looking for. In a country where access to food is unlimited, there are still many people who struggle to figure out where their next meal will come from. To gather and build baskets of food to ease that burden while you are fasting gives you a small taste of the beauty of Islam.
Akber is currently working as an M.D. and looking to specialize in the field of family/emergency medicine so he can help others around the world that don't have access to health care and those affected by natural disasters.
Quote to live by: "Do not look at those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of the favors Allah has bestowed upon you." - Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Omar joined Project Ramadan's Executive Committee in 2017 after attending a build the previous year and being inspired by not only how many families were benefiting from this initiative but also how the builds brought the entire community together to give back in a fun and social way. Omar's area of focus for the upcoming year will be to tap and explore new avenues of fundraising while further strengthening our existing partnerships and donor base.
Omar currently works at TD in Treasury and Balance Sheet Management where his primary focus is on Liquidity Risk Management. Outside of work Omar is a member of CFA Society Toronto's Mentorship Committee as well as loves to travel, ski and play squash.
Quote to live by: "If you stand for nothing, you'll fall for everything."
Ammarah is an inspired educator who started with Project Ramadan in 2017. As a school teacher since 2015 her sense of unity is what she thrives on when connecting to the youth and communities have become her tenets. Ms. Chaudhry, as some would call her, loves serving others with her energy and time and is excited to have found Project Ramadan, a place where she can continue to learn and grow. It always amazes Ammarah how much a group of people can accomplish when they renew their intention and focus on the bigger picture. She truly believes that small initiatives can spark big change and she hopes through Project Ramadan she can share these sentiments. Ammarah hopes to always stay involved in community projects instilling in herself and in those whom she connects with the importance of community involvement and the Islamic value of being the hand that gives.
Quote to live by: "The best of people are those that bring most benefit to the rest of mankind." - Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Faisal has been volunteering with the Muslim Welfare Centre since 2012. He got involved in supporting Project Ramadan since 2015. In 2017, he decided to take a more prominent role in the organization by joining the Executive Committee. Given the recent events that have occurred within our communities across North America and Europe and knowing how it is our duty to serve humanity, Faisal couldn't just sit idle anymore. Faisal’s passion has always been to give back and inspire others and be a role model for future generations.
Faisal has been working for CIBC as a Senior Consultant for the past 11 years where he has been involved and supported United Way, CIBC Miracle Day, CIBC Run for the Cure, to name a few. Faisal enjoys watching sports and traveling.
Quote to live by: "Regret is a form of punishment itself." - Nouman Ali Khan
It was love at first sight when Zenaira started volunteering with Project Ramadan. She was inspired by the variety of people dedicating their time to helping others while fasting themselves. This included kids who were so small that they could barely lift the baskets. For someone whose job it is to monitor the media and read heartbreaking headlines all day, it was refreshing to see people come together to create a positive impact on their community.
Quote to live by: "Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary." - J. M. Barrie
In 2016 Maryam volunteered for the first time at one of the Mississauga builds. She felt a strong sense of belonging and community where she witnessed people of all faiths, ages and backgrounds coming together to help people in need. After her successful experience she knew it would not be her last. Having been a part of various executive boards, she was intrigued by Project Ramadan as it not only serves the Muslim community but also other groups in need. This year, Maryam joins the Executive Committee Committee.
Maryam is currently a Senior Software Consultant at Obero Solutions where she implements Sales Performance Management solutions.
Quote to live by: "Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety, after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly." - Imam Ali (A.S.)
Aleena attended her first-ever Project Ramadan build in 2016 and was inspired to join the Executive Committee as a way of giving back.
By day, she's a Chartered Professional Accountant, currently in the process of establishing her own practice. While she does not own any pocket protectors or argyle socks, she does bring to the team over 5 years of experience at 2 of the Big Four accounting firms. She also has over a decade of experience organizing events and councils for youth-based initiatives at national charities. By night, she is an avid TV-watcher and loves all things film.
Quote to live by: "Don't let life randomly kick you into the adult you don't want to become." - Col. Chris Hadfield
Adnan gets excited when he hears about opportunities to put his faith into action, and so when the opportunity arose to take part in a Ramadan event to feed the needy, he jumped on it. He took part again when we was confronted by a role in which he could serve at a much higher capacity by acting as a procurement specialist for Project Ramadan. Adnan owns a food processing and marketing business called Nourished Innovations Inc. which acts as a parent company to the subsidiaries NMK Foods Inc. and Kebab Factory.
Quote to live by: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?…" - (Matthew 5:43-46)
Mohsen Hussain leads a team of developers at Cancer Care Ontario, the government's advisor on the cancer and renal systems, as well as on access to care for key health services. Passionate about the Islamic principal of helping others and those in need, Mohsen fulfills this passion through his work and volunteering efforts with Project Ramadan. In his free time Mohsen loves keeping active and travelling with wife, daughter and son.
Quote to live by: "And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend." - Surah 34 (Fusilat), Verse 34
Amal attended her first ever Project Ramadan build in 2014 in Scarborough. The sense of purpose during the long summer days of Ramadan was inspiring. The community coming together for a noble cause truly embodied the spirit of Ramadan and ignited her passion to become more involved in the executive committee.
Amal has served on numerous board committees for community programs, as both an activist and spokesperson. You may see her on-screen or hear her on the radio through her many interviews with BBC, Al-Jazeera, CBC, CBC Radio One and CTV. She has also organized a number of large-scale community events and fundraised over $5Million for humanitarian aid and medical supplies for displaced refugees.
By day she is a project manager at a health experience design firm in Toronto, by night she is a cat/dog lover and yoga enthusiast. She is proud to be part of the Project Ramadan team!
Quote to live by: “The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr” -Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Haider Shakeel started volunteering with Project Ramadan in 2017 after he was inspired by the builds which helps thousands of families in the community regardless of their ethnicity or religion. He joined the Fundraising Team and has a goal of increasing the involvement of small businesses and corporations with Project Ramadan.
Shakeel, as he usually goes by, is current working as a Project Manager in Tim Horton’s Development and Construction Team where his focus is on the growth of new markets across Canada. In his free time, he is either planning his next adventure or being a cricket fanatic.
Nabil Fancy started working for Project Ramadan in December 2017, after attending his first build in spring 2016. Nabil is Project Ramadan’s Administrator, and he enjoys volunteering and has done a great deal in the past, but wanted to find a greater role to have the ability to help more people and he found that with Project Ramadan. Being the youngest executive of Project Ramadan, Nabil focuses on helping Project Ramadan is every way he can and is very excited for the future of the project.
Nabil is currently an undergraduate student at University of Toronto St. George. Nabil is a massive soccer fan and a strong advocate for Indigenous Rights, and he is proud to be a part of the team!
Quote to live by: "I really love and respect all colors, creeds, faiths, religions, even though I might have my own personal connection, or whatever that is, with myself. I think it came from that household, it was all the negatives that I saw, witnessed, went through, that turned me into the positive person that you see today." -Sir Robert Bryson Hall II
Mark Strong, they call him Strizzzy. Mark is the voice that will get you on your feet and making noise at all Toronto Raptors home games and Project Ramadan builds. Mark joined Project Ramadan in 2015..
Mark's career started in the early 90s. Strong joined the cornerstone of the urban talent pool in Toronto, Fresh Arts. An organization that helped build the foundation of such talent as: Kardinal Offishall, July Black and video director Little X. His writing skills and connection with those around him also helped him branch out into acting, writing and producing several neighbourhood theater plays, which strengthened his grounding in communities across the GTA.
Mark's career has ranged from TV, including warm-ups for Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel to Radio, including the morning show on G987fm. He is currently the host of NBAXL and the in-field host for the Toronto Argonauts.
As a dedicated family man, Strong works hard to be a positive role model in several communities. His persona has managed to captivate thousands of listeners and viewers with his humor, creative parodies, witty topics and commanding presence. He is always up for the challenge to push the creative envelope and there's no telling where he'll take it next.