Prince William and Catherine, the prince and princess of Wales, visited the Hayes Muslim Centre to express their appreciation for the record-breaking funds that the Muslim community in London raised to aid victims of the earthquakes that recently hit Turkiye and Syria. The UK Disasters Emergency Committee announced that the nationwide appeal to raise funds for the disaster had reached a record £121 million ($144.37 million). The Hayes Muslim Centre was able to raise £30,000, with £18,000 of that amount being raised within two hours.
During their visit, the royals talked with Zia Rehman, the chief fundraiser of the center. Rehman shared that the Muslim community in Hayes is mixed, and when they fundraise, it is not only for the Muslims. The princess, wearing a headscarf, praised the strength of the community when they come together and support each other.
Malen Alhousseiny, a response manager with Age International, informed the royals that the victims of the earthquakes have lost their lives, homes, loved ones, and pensions. The roads in the affected areas are severely disrupted, which caused a 9-year-old girl rescued from a collapsed building in Syria to die in the ambulance.
Despite the challenges, the rescue workers regularly dug through the rubble, hearing voices underneath and hammering the concrete, and continued to work tirelessly. The royals also met two schoolgirls who made 700 symbolic paper cranes as part of their school’s fundraiser for the earthquake victims, which reached £10,000.
Overall, the visit to the Hayes Muslim Centre shows that a community can come together and make a difference during challenging times. The generous donations from the community and the dedication of the aid workers and volunteers can help provide hope and support to those affected by disasters.