During times when the world has never faced tougher challenges, there are organisations that shine brightly as beacons of support for those in need.
Established in 2010 and currently based at Revesby in Sydney, House Of Sadaqa is one such body.
Originally run from the Castle Hill garage of its inspirational founder Bilal (Rob) Laidlaw (who accepted Islam 23 years ago), this not-for-profit organisation continues to make a significant impact by addressing social disadvantage, family breakdown, domestic abuse, financial hardship, homelessness and isolation.
House Of Sadaqa’s mission is to bridge the gap between government welfare agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs) and other charity organisations, stepping in where essential needs are not being met during crises.
Their commitment to assisting the vulnerable, both in Australia and overseas for more than 13 years, is commendable.
And it’s been well over a decade of ongoing expansion as the organisation has continued to outgrow its existing premises, relocating warehouses on no less than four occasions before eventually settling at their current base at 6/60 Marigold St, Revesby, where they have been for the past three years.
At House Of Sadaqa, the primary mission is to address the pressing issues that lead to social disadvantage, often resulting in family breakdown and hardship.
The organisation recognises that there are critical situations where government and other agencies fall short and they fill that void with their compassionate and dedicated efforts.
House Of Sadaqa’s goal is to support individuals and families in their journey towards independence and fulfilment and their work is driven by the belief that everyone, regardless of their background, deserves a chance at a better life.
Financial hardship can strike anyone at any time, often resulting from unforeseen circumstances.
House Of Sadaqa’s Home Essentials Program is one of the ways they assist local families and individuals facing severe financial difficulties.
By providing essential household items, including brand new furniture, whitegoods and other appliances, they offer relief and a fresh start to those in need and these tangible contributions make a significant difference in the lives of those who are struggling to make ends meet.
House Of Sadaqa’s support of the vulnerable isn’t just restricted to Australia.
“Since 2013, we’ve have been sending a massive (19 tonne) container of clothing and shoes every month to overseas destinations including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Lebanon, Africa and Syria,” Bilal Laidlaw told AMUST.
“And we’re very proud of the fact that this International Clothing Aid Program has now reached over a million people around the world.”
Clothing Sydney’s homeless is another of House Of Sadaqa’s many initiatives, distributing clothes, shoes, bags and brand new sleeping bags, gloves, underwear, socks and beanies to the homeless community at Martin Place in the CBD once a month.
House Of Sadaqa also opened the Sydney Muslim community’s first Goodwill store at Bankstown in Sydney’s southwest.
Another core area of focus for House Of Sadaqa is supporting victims of domestic violence, a pervasive issue affecting individuals from all walks of life.
The organisation provides vital assistance to those who find themselves trapped in abusive situations and this support extends to shelter, legal aid, counselling and access to essential resources.
House Of Sadaqa also extends a helping hand to refugees and new-starters through housing, employment assistance, language education and cultural integration programs.
Bilal and his team also show their commitment to humanity by providing support to those affected by natural disasters, both in Australia and overseas.
Whether it’s responding to bushfires, floods or international crises, the organisation is quick to provide aid, including emergency relief, food and shelter.
House Of Sadaqa understands that achieving their mission requires collaboration and they have formed partnerships with several like-minded organisations, each with its own specialties, to collectively serve the community with quality and unity.
These partnerships encompass a wide range of services, from providing groceries and bill payments to counselling and translation services and it is this network of support that amplifies the benefit of what they do.
The impact of House Of Sadaqa’s work is recognised and praised by other organisations.
Dean Mousad, co-founder of two other prominent Australian Islamic NFP organisations Brothers In Need and Project Qur’an, commended House Of Sadaqa for their collaboration on the Homeless Outreach Program.
“House Of Sadaqa have been doing some work with us for a couple of years now in combination with our Homeless Outreach Program, clothing the homeless at Martin Place on a monthly basis,” Dean said.
“They are a very good bunch of brothers who have been around for many years and do a great job for the community.”
House Of Sadaqa has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings 13 years ago, and Bilal Laidlaw has “big dreams, goals and visions” for the organisation in the future.
“I hope one day that we will be working from an IKEA-sized warehouse, with cafes and restaurants and with all of our programs running there – as well as having a big fleet on the road….not just to have a big office but so we can benefit more people and help the Ummah as a whole.”
As well as collaborating with Brothers In Need and other well known charities and organisations including FACS Housing NSW, Arab Council Australia, National Zakat Foundation, Muslim Aid Australia and CatholicCare, House Of Sadaqa is also very appreciate of the assistance and support it receives from entities like Jannah Express, Hannan Accounting and Masnad Health.