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Our story

After witnessing the dire living conditions of refugees in the Calais refugee camp, our founder, Atia Lokhat was moved to action. She was particularly touched by the plight of unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, orphans, and elderly individuals. Atia’s mother, Zubeda, had always emphasized the importance of kindness from strangers in their own family’s journey to Canada to escape poverty in India. This lesson stayed with Atia and inspired her to create a charity that helps those in need, in the hopes that the kindness of strangers can continue to have a positive impact on others.

Hence, Atia named the charity to honour her mother who resides in Canada with her family. Initially, the charity was aimed to assist refugees in finding a safe country through the Vulnerable People’s Resettlement Scheme. Atia’s family offered vacant properties to the council, who worked with UNHCR to resettle the most vulnerable families. From 2015-2017, Atia ran a campaign to raise awareness of the scheme and encouraged landlords to participate. In 2017, Atia recognized the overlooked need for the children of Muslim refugee families to continue their Islamic education, which was disrupted when they were forced to flee their country. Families who already lost nearly everything, who finally made it to a destination of safety were now at the risk of losing their faith and Muslim identity. The parents wanted to but were not able to afford the fees to pass on this last legacy of theirs to their children. As a Muslim mother of three, Atia was able to relate to this need and began to focus on providing madrasa education. The word spread, and the number of applicants for funding increased, prompting Atia to launch more fundraising initiatives. The charity has gone from supporting three children to over 60 in just five years!

Since 2017, the charity’s focus shifted exclusively to addressing the madrasa needs of all refugees and asylum seekers across the UK. This will require the support of other charities, donors, funders, and refugee support groups that could help Zubeda Welcome identify those in need of madrasa support and help raise the vital funds and resources needed to meet these needs.
Now in our 5th year of serving refugee children, for the first time as a registered charity, our focus turns to the madrasa needs of all refugees across the UK as well as the asylum seekers who are housed temporarily in a given location as they await their fate.
Zubeda Welcome is committed to meet the Islamic education needs of all the refugees and asylum seekers across the UK, but wont achieve this alone. We will need the support of many other charities, donors, funders and refugee support groups across the nation to connect the dots and make this happen!
Atia embarked on her first volunteering experience in May 2015, with the support of her children who helped her pack up donations of school materials and food supplies.
At the Calais Refugee Camp, Atia dedicated her time and resources to support the Jungle School, Jungle Kitchen, and Jungle Warehouse initiatives. She contributed to the collective efforts to provide essential supplies and educational resources to the refugee community in need.
Between 2016 and 2017, the organization, formally named, Resettling Refugees in the UK, was dedicated to resettling refugees through official channels, with a focus on the Vulnerable People's Resettlement Scheme.
The organization also worked to raise awareness of the UK government's pledge to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, with the aim of facilitating the integration and support of vulnerable individuals and families.
Atia was approached by the media to share her experience as a landlord renting to refugees. She readily agreed to participate, hoping to inspire other landlords to open their doors and provide safe homes for refugee families in need.
In a second documentary was produced by actress, director and activist, Joanne Mcinnes which featured contributions from public figures such as comedian Miranda Hart, actress Harriet Walter, Lord Alf Dubs, and Atia herself to share her life-changing experiences as a landlord renting to refugees through VPRS and providing insight into the challenges faced by refugees and importance of support and compassion in the resettlement process.
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Atia took part in a documentary, "Surviving 28 Days," produced by Tommaso Mazzanti, which sheds light on the difficult circumstances faced by asylum seekers in the UK once they are granted refugee status. The documentary follows their struggles to find suitable accommodation within the short timeframe of 28 days, after which they risk becoming homeless.
Surviving 28 days on Vimeo
In an effort to support newly resettled refugee families in the North London area, Zubeda Welcome held their first "Eat and Greet" gathering at the London Islamic Cultural Society and Mosque in 2017. The event was made possible by the support of the Nawaal Fund, and featured a welcome speech delivered by the scholar, Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera. The goal was to introduce refugee families to local organizations, resources, and support available in the area.
Today, the focus of Zubeda Welcome is on identifying refugees and asylum seekers who wish to provide their children with Islamic education but face financial or other challenges.
The organization continues to develop fundraising strategies and build relationships with other charities, organizations, mosques, and madrasas to find cost-effective solutions for providing access to a good standard of Islamic education for refugee and asylum seeker children in the UK. Through social media, marketing, and event participation, the organization works to raise awareness and support for its Madrasa Fees for Refugees project.
Those interested in supporting the cause can contact Zubeda Welcome to arrange for a representative to attend as a speaker, fundraise, or take a stall at an event.
Atia is available to speak at events to raise awareness of the Work Zubeda welcome does and to generate support from other organisations, charities, funders, donors, mosques and madrasas to collectively help us.
1) Identify the refugees who need free access to Islamic education, Quran lessons
2) Arrange access to free places or help fund raise for fees where free places are not available
3) Volunteers to join our organisation to help us ectend our initiatives across cities in the UK.
4) Where there is an opportunity, help us raise awareness through TV, Radio, social media, invite us to speak about our work, spread the work and generate support. Influencers
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Our vision for the future

Through building new partnerships and developing our fundraising strategies we aim to provide access to refugees and asylum seekers for communities across the whole of the United Kingdom, one community at a time, Insha’Allah. And when opportunities present themselves, we continue to offer our beneficiaries opportunities to be get involved in our initatives as volunteers in order to give them a sense of purpose and empowerment. Alhumdolillah, we currently have 5 parents of our refugee sponsorees who are active volunteers Zubeda Welcome. Despite their own challenges they continue to assist through offering us their IT skill and translation support.

Our Executive Team

Atia Lokhat

Founder, CEO

Amina Hassanjee

Trustee

Nahid Hanif

Trustee

Deen Hafezjee

Trustee

Eesa Hafezjee

Trustee

Zaheeda Manjoo

Relationship Officer

Anjim Iqbal

Event Coordinator

Rawan Mirghani

Operations Assistant

Nadia Minhas

Project Support Officer

We currently have over 60 volunteers on our Team and fast growing! Masha’Allah. Click on HERE to meet some of our volunteers and find out how you can apply for a slice of this sadaqa jaariyah pie!