Meet Mohammad Rahman. He’s giving forward by investing in children’s education around the world.
On March 23, 1999, Mohammad Rahman’s 11-year-old son, Mustafa, was killed when a drunk driver hit a car in which the youngster was riding. In the depths of his grief, Mohammad resolved that his son’s name would become a symbol of hope for children around the globe, and that he would transform his anguish into a force of optimism.
Built on the foundation that all people are “one people,” Mohammad established the One Ummah Foundation. One Ummah, an Arabic word meaning community, provides desperately needed assistance to children without regard to race, religion or creed. The Foundation has assisted children of many nations in their desperate search for the necessities of life, like food, shelter, and a good education.
Mohammad invests in education because it is the key to creating a better world for younger and future generations.
“Investment in education is the best equalizer,” he says. “It enables the positive narrative that is important to inspire hope. A good education is the cornerstone of opportunity for a better life.” In addition to honoring his son, Mohammad’s inspiration for giving forward comes from a sense of gratitude, “Elders have an opportunity to leverage their own gifts from life in order to open doors and create opportunities for children.”
Citing a principle that guides the Foundation, Mohammad points to the need for universality among the world’s ethnicities and religions. We are all members, he says, of one great work, what he calls Human Incorporated. Matters of the heart require practical application, and to that end, Mohammad works diligently to create real-world solutions and strategies, with every dollar given to the Foundation going directly to charitable projects – funding schools, health care, and nutrition for children in need.
“We all have something to give,” he says, “whether it’s a few dollars or, just as importantly, our time and energy. Consider how you give, in addition to how much you give.” While no one can easily endure the tragic loss of a loved one, giving forward through service and advocacy can help you find purpose by helping others. “When you are in a dark room, you’ve got one decision to make – do you stay in the dark, or do you turn on a light?” For Mohammad, his foundation breathed life and light back into his heart, and continues to enrich the lives of children.
Mohammad is a SAGE peer-to-peer advisor. To get in touch with Mohammad, Contact SAGE.
“Elders have an opportunity to leverage their own gifts from life in order to open doors and create opportunities for children.”
Mohammad’s Tips for Giving Forward
1. If you have lost a loved one, only you know how best to heal. For many, we find comfort and purpose in service and in giving to honor those we love.
2. When giving to charitable causes, give yourself time to consider how to maximize the impact of your dollar. For advice, review the book Giving 2.0 from the Laura Arrillaga-Andreesen Foundation.
3. One reason people give to education is due to its long-term impact. As a volunteer or benefactor, you’ll impact a child’s life, but that impact will have a positive ripple effect for generations to come.