A TEAM of volunteers has smashed a charity record by raising nearly a quarter of a million pounds in less than three weeks.

The team, which was headed by businessman Haji Mohammed Shakeel Faraz, managed to raise around £225,000 for a deployment project as part of the charity SKT Welfare.

Normally people taking part in the deployment programmes are asked to raise £3,000 to fund food packages and other supplies – a drop in the ocean compared to the efforts of Mr Faraz and his team.

The charity runs the deployments in well-controlled environments in countries with disenfranchised and poor communities.

Mr Faraz decided to take part in one of the projects after a discussion with his brothers over a meal around five and a half weeks ago.

The task was to raise enough money for food packages and then to distribute these amongst refugees on Turkey’s border with Syria, in Reyhanli.

The team setup a Just Giving page with the ambitious target of raising £100,000. Mr Faraz said: “Many thought we wouldn’t do it, but with willpower and everybody’s support we smashed it.”

On the weekend before their deployment, the team raised £40,000 during a two-day car-wash fundraiser and then tipped their total to record levels by posting on social media and hosting live blogs whilst in Turkey.

Mr Faraz said that when people began to see that 100 per cent of donations were going towards those who are suffering – as per SKT’s ethos – the money came in even quicker.


But he admitted it was tough to see the plight of many of the refugees.

He said: “It’s heart-breaking seeing all the kids – the smile when they receive the packages melts your heart straight away.

“My kids, they have a roof and food – three meals a day. Kids over there look forward to one meal a day and they don’t know how long it will last.”

Mr Faraz mentioned how his journey began as a normal, working-class man who worked three jobs and long hours every day to get where he is now.

He said he lives a comfortable life now, but that money doesn’t bring happiness and therefore his charity work keeps him going.

He said: “Tomorrow, if I go, I want to leave a legacy, for someone to follow my footsteps. It all keeps me at ground level.”

A spokesperson for SKT Welfare said: “Fair play to Shaks and his team – it was a massive job and that sort of money is unheard of.”

They added that the only time any effort had ever come close to that total was for a charity dinner where hundreds of people attended.

The spokesperson said: “Volunteers are our backbone and without these efforts refugees in Reyhanli wouldn’t have had food packages in what is a very warm summer.”

Mr Faraz received a special award of appreciation and recognition for his team’s mammoth effort in fundraising and supporting the refugees when on deployment.