Underprivileged madrasahs




Shortly after ILM-SA was founded, we were approached for assistance by a group of socio-economically disadvantaged sisters who had accepted Islam years before meeting us. They were running afternoon madrasahs at their homes, teaching underprivileged children the basics of Islam. The parents of these children, although not Muslim, were happy with this as it kept them away from elements on the streets. Providing support to these madrasahs has since become one of our core activities.


We currently support four madrasahs; in Malukazi (Aapa Fathima Shibe); Trenance Park (Aapa Aneesa Gwantisheni); and a combined madrasah in Folweni (Aapa Amina Madlala and Aapa Khadija Madlala).


Core support

We support the madrasahs – which are in total made up of 82 children – by:

  • Paying each teacher a monthly salary.
  • Providing text books.
  • Sending a member of our staff who is an ‘aalim to each madrasah on a weekly basis to assist the teachers and their learners.
  • Hosting the Eid with a Difference programme for them annually (see page ).
  • Providing moral support to the teachers; by constantly speaking to them about their concerns, needs and objectives, and trying to facilitate a way forward in this regard.


Other support:

We provide various other forms of assistance, including nutritional support (e.g. a fortnightly hot meal, Ramadaan food hampers, etc.) when possible; school fees for the teachers’ children when required, as well as recycled clothing that is in good condition, when available.


Trenance Park madrasah upgrade

Aapa Aneesa Gwantisheni has been running her madrasah outdoors since its inception. This year we provided her with a fully-furnished wendy house, including a toilet and a basin, as well as a crèche starter kit (stationery, educational toys, breakfast cereal, milk, blankets and mattresses). Aapa Aneesa is now using the wendy house to provide a much-needed crèche service to her community during the mornings. In the afternoons, she uses the wendy house as a madrasah.


Our vision

Our vision is to provide each teacher with the necessary resources for teaching, as well as to further empower her and her learners outside the context of madrasah classes by facilitating access to further education and income-earning opportunities.


apa-khadija] In memory of the late Aapa Khadija Shibe (1960 – 2015)

Born Bafunani Gladys Shibe, Aapa Khadija converted to Islam in 1998, after talking to a Muslim, during a supermarket errand. She then undertook a never-ending journey of studying – first under an individual, then at the Muslim Charitable Foundation (MCF) as well as IEOSA, and also attended classes in Isipingo. She was also a regular part of our teacher training programme.  Aapa taught dozens of children and adults in Malukazi, Nsimbini, Isipingo as well as in Phezukomkona which was her place of birth. This entailed hours of travel on her part, which she happily embraced. Aapa Khadija passed away in January this year. She is survived by her daughter Fathima, who now runs her madrasah in Malukazi, her sons, Abdullah and Mutallib and her grandchildren, Zakariyah and Zulekha. Aapa may no longer be with us but she will in sha Allah always be remembered for her dedicated pursuit of seeking and imparting knowledge, her humility and last, but not least, the constant smile on her face. Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raji’oon.

Eid with a difference



In 2007, a year after our inception, by which time we were already assisting underprivileged madrasahs, we decided that it was necessary to give each teacher, her family members and her learners the opportunity to celebrate Eid in a festive atmosphere. Eid with a difference was therefore borne and has grown in many ways since its early days, in terms of logistics like venue etc. as well as community involvement and level of organisation.



In formulating this this programme, we considered the hadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wassallam in which he said that none of us has truly believed until we love for our brothers what we love for ourselves. We therefore:

  • Give each child and teacher a new set of clothes ahead of Eid day, which is especially sized and stitched for them.
  • Transport each child and teacher to Essenwood Park on the morning of Eid.
  • Arrange an Eid salaah on site for the teachers, the learners as well as anyone else who wants to attend.
  • Provide treats (including the traditional Eid samoosa and milk breakfast and a giant ‘Eid Saeed’ cake at the end of the day).
  • Provide lunch.
  • Provide entertainment and activities – ranging from clowns to face-painting, to sport, to simple supervised play in the park.
  • Provide an Eid gift to each teacher and her learners upon departure.

Since its inception Eid with a Difference has grown to include not only the children attending ILM-SA supported madrasahs but also other beneficiaries of the organisation all of whom are provided with the above. These include some of our bursary students and their families, as well recipients of our social-welfare grants, and two other madrasahs which are not part of our regular support programme.


Community Involvement

Community involvement is very much a distinguishing feature of Eid with a difference. This programme affords members of the community to interact across racial and economic barriers which sadly continue to be a part of the everyday South African experience. Therefore, each year we are joined by dozens of people – some of them pray with us, others play games, and paint faces, some serve food and others simply bring along treats to give to the children.






Since our inception in 2006, during the course of implementing our various projects, we have regularly come into contact with individuals from diverse backgrounds who want to study but are not in a financial position to do so, or individuals who are already studying but are unable to continue due to their inability to pay tuition fees. Consequently, we launched a bursary programme in 2007 which was modest to begin with. With the Mercy of Allah, and thanks to the generosity of the community, this programme has since grown in leaps and bounds.


  • In the first half of 2015, we allocated in excess of R200 000 towards bursaries.
  • The bursaries we provide are non-repayable; but we do encourage the recipients thereof to volunteer their time to some of our programmes, when time permits.
  • Some of our bursary recipients are part of a dedicated Adopt-a-Student programme, whereby individuals or couples elect to sponsor a student entirely for the duration of his/her studies.
  • Other bursary students are funded via dedicated fundraising campaigns which we activate on social media platforms like Facebook and Whatsapp.
  • Others are assisted from our existing funds.
  • Our 2015 bursary students include: a muezzin (teaching), a muezzin’s daughter who is a single mother (final year, social work degree), a former garage attendant (teaching), and a young man who is the breadwinner in a child-headed household (accounting), as well as the son of an ‘aalim who isn’t employed (engineering), a young woman from a rural area who converted to Islam recently (media studies), a brother and sister from Burundi (maritime and psychology), the former head-boy of a school who hails from a lower-income household (engineering) and a refugee from Burundi who is orphaned (media studies).
  • We assist our bursary students in other ways when possible, for e.g. with textbooks, accommodation, food, travel allowances, etc. For example we relocated one of our recipients from an unsafe informal settlement to a safer area, by providing him with the funds to erect a wendy house on the property of a pastor.

Township cricket


In 2014 Fatima Asmal, the founder of ILM-SA, worked on a newspaper story about the development of black cricketers in Kwazulu-Natal’s townships and rural areas. In doing so she came into contact with Linda Zondi, a Proteas selector and the manager of KZN Cricket’s Township and Rural Area Development programme which works in dozens of areas across the province. Linda highlighted many of the successes of the programme, and arranged for Fatima to visit Umlazi where hundreds of the children practise their cricket under a group of passionate coaches. He also arranged interviews for her with some of the young men from the programme who are currently studying as bursary students at Glenwood High School, thanks to the talent which his programme identified and nurtured.   ILM-SA recognised the value of what Linda and his team are doing, and decided to assist as much as they can.


Since late last year we have:

  • Provided an average of 300 to 500 sandwiches, plus juices, fruit and other snacks, every Saturday during the cricket season, for underprivileged cricketers belonging to the programme who travel from far afield – often on empty stomachs – to play against traditional, ‘white,’ cricketing schools.
  • Initiated an annual end of the year party for 500 children belonging to the programme, in partnership with KZN Cricket’s Township and Rural Area Development. Our involvement includes the provision of jumping castles, meals and goodie bags for the children.
  • Sponsored full cricket kits comprising bats, pads, thigh pads, elbow pads, helmets, ball boxes and kit bags – provided to us at discounted prices by Kookaburra – to the fourteen cricketers from the programme who were selected to represent KZN last year.

Muslimah Today



Since our inception, whenever we have hosted international Islamic scholars, we have arranged women’s only programmes with them, in keeping with the way of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wassallam who regularly set aside time during which to address women. It was therefore a natural next step to host what is believed to be South Africa’s only conference for Muslim women. Alhamdulillah, since 2012, Muslimah Today has been one of the most eagerly anticipated programmes on our calendar.


  • To highlight the achievements, contributions and knowledge of Muslim women.
  • To create a networking opportunity for Muslim women, enabling them to share knowledge, skills and ideas.
  • To strengthen the ties of sisterhood in our midst, by bringing Muslim women from diverse backgrounds together. A large proportion of our delegates come from socio-economically disadvantaged communities and are sponsored; and delegates from around the country attend.



  • To date Muslimah Today has hosted a mix of dynamic speakers including Naledi Pandor (minister of science and technology), Quraysha Ismail Sooliman, Zuleikha Mayat, Safiyyah Surtee, Shubnum Khan, Shafinaaz Hassim and Fatima Chohan (deputy minister of home affairs).
  • Five women have accepted Islam during the conference.
  • The conference has attracted much interest from mainstream media outlets, which have sent journalists to cover it. This has hopefully undone some of the damage the stereotyping of Muslim women in the media has led to.

Emergency assistance



Since our inception in 2006, we have made it a point not to turn away anyone who is in need of socio-economic assistance without – at the very least – trying to assist them, after verifying their respective situations of course.

It is important to note that the assistance we provide is short to medium term and intended to provide the individual/family in question with time so that he/they can back on his/their feet – it is not geared towards creating a cycle of dependency.


We have provided various forms of assistance to dozens of people over the years. This has included:

  • Paying rent for families/individuals who were on the verge of being evicted.
  • Helping families who have been in major debt alleviate some of their burden.
  • Helping students repay debts to universities without which they cannot receive their results or continue with their studies.
  • Emergency food hampers.

Refugee relief

ILM-SA was one of many Islamic organisations which responded to the plight of victims of xenophobia who sought refuge at four ‘camp’ sites around KZN. We assisted the Chatsworth site, where we:

  • Provided lunch (1500 people) and breakfast (700 people) once each.
  • Erected a gazebo for the purposes of salaah, at request of Muslim refugees at the site.
  • Arranged an activity for the children at the site led by our volunteers and donated dozens of toys to them.
  • Donated numerous essentials including 1510 sanitary pads, 3455 nappies, 532 blankets, 3780 toilet rolls, 264 mattresses and various other items including nappy cream, burqahs, toothbrushes and toothpastes.

Live, Love and Learn


Since last year we have been hosting Live, Love and Learn – a series of monthly (as far as possible) workshops for women, aimed at assisting them in dealing with the challenges they face and unpacking issues related to them. These workshops are held in a pleasant semi-outdoor environment and feature a two hour presentation including a question and answer session with experts in their respective fields, followed by lunch. Our speakers thus far have included Edris Khamissa, Haafidh Fuzail Soofie and Zohra Sooliman.

Afternoon madrasah with a difference


We have successfully run an afternoon madrasah for children at the NMJ Islamic Centre since 2011. Since its inception the madrasah has had an annual enrolment of between fifteen to twenty children, ranging in age from six to thirteen. Our aim in establishing the madrasah was to convey Islamic knowledge with patience, love and understanding. We also strive to accommodate the often hectic and erratic extra-curricular schedules of our learners; and are focused on impressing on them the need to be Allah-conscious, humble, ethical and fair in relation to all of Allah’s Creation.

In conversation with…


In conversation with… is a series of programmes aimed at giving talented individuals the platform to launch their work, whilst simultaneously providing the community with an opportunity to interact with them. We invite individuals to launch their newly released work at a restaurant, engage them in some questions, and then give the audience an opportunity to interact with them. Thus far we have featured Imran Garda (launch of his debut novel The Thunder that Roars), Shafinaaz Hassim (launch of her poetry collection Soul Seeds for Shade and Solitude), Bilkis Moola (launch of her debut poetry anthology Wounds and Wings) and Qaanitah Hunter (launch of her debut novel Diary of a Gujji Girl).

Rural Iftaar


Each Ramadaan we take members of the community to a rural area to have iftaar with some of our madrasah children and their teachers. To date dozens of people, young and old, have joined us, either alone or with their families and friends. The experience is an unforgettable one, wherein iftaar is usually shared under an open sky, amidst candlelight in the company of some very excited children. Transport and meals are provided for everyone who wants to participate in this unique programme which is aimed at conveying the message that a lot more needs to be done to reduce the gap between the privilege and underprivileged in our community.