Muslim neighbourhood The word conjures up various descriptions. Lack of cleanliness, absence of civic sense, traffic indiscipline, poverty and illiteracy.
Todays Muslim youth wants to play a proactive role for the over all community development. Muslim youth are attracted towards community based development as the world over, community based development has yielded tremendous positive results.
In neighbouring Pakistan , the Orangi Pilot Project, provided sewerage facilities to nearly 1 million people in a poor area of Karachi , costs were oneeighth of conventional sewerage provided by city authorities. This was due to changes in technical design and the elimination of payoffs to intermediaries.
In Brazil s water and sanitation project for lowincome communities (PROSENEAR), a ceiling of 120 per capita has been imposed on sanitation expenditures. Within this cost limit, engineers and community development experts are encouraged to work with communities to devise the most appropriate solutions. Through this process, projects have been designed for as little as 50 per capita.
Orangi was a squatter community, and did not qualify for government aid due to their unofficial status. With endogenous research, the community was able to make an affordable sanitation system for the treatment of sewage, which helped to reduce the spread of disease. The system was created and paid for by the local community, who would not have had access to a sewer system otherwise.
The programme proved so successful that it was adopted by the communities across developing countries. Community development is seen as emphasizing selfhelp, mutual support, the building up of neighbourhood integration, the development of neighbourhood capacities for problemsolving and selfrepresentation, and the promotion of collective action to bring a communitys preferences to the attention of political decisionmakers.
In India , two Muslim communities have achieved tremendous success following the Community based development strategy. They are Memon and Khojas. Both the communities are still focusing on Jamatkhanas for development activities. Memon and Khoja youth are contributing for the community welfare by becoming part of their community forums rather than the mainstream Muslim organisations.
The term Jamatkhana literally means a house of assembly or gathering. Specifically, it has come to designate a gathering space for community activities. In the Shia Ismaili community today, the Jamatkhana represents the physical space in which the community gathers in a shared process of prayers and expressions of piety.
The Jamatkhanas are multifunctional and act as the religious, educational and social centres for the Ismaili community. Speaking on the occasion of the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon , Aga Khan suggested that among the programmatic dimensions of the Ismaili Centre will be lectures, presentations, conferences, recitals, and exhibits of art and architecture.
These Centres serve to reflect, illustrate and represent the communitys intellectual and spiritual understanding of Islam, its social conscience, its organisation, its forward outlook and its positive attitude towards the societies in which it lives, he said Memons build Jamatkhanas which is the centre of their social activities. Lets take the example of the very vibrant Cutchi Memon Jamatkhana in South Mumbai . The centre offer scholarship to needy students, and healthcare aid. Jamatkhanas manage schools, junior colleges and hospitals. Muslim women entrepreneurs are trained here and their products are periodically displayed on sales.
The strategy of Khojas and Memons in the social sphere is AssetBased Community building (ABC). The goal of ABC is to reverse the perspective of most community development that looks for problems and needs before looking at the advantages and solutions already in place. Both the communities focus on the already existing human resources and infrastructure and make best use of them to improve life and also take care of the neighborhood.
Muslim areas are generally dirty and Muslims are perceived as lacking good civic habits. Even an individual can speak on the subject of sanitation in the neighborhood. It does not cost money. If one person initiates the efforts, likeminded people will join and Almighty will make it a successful movement.