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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Project SOAM

“Be the change that you want to see in the World”
Mahatma Gandhi

From global poverty to societal degradation and environmental issues the beginnings of the new millennium have presented humanity with challenges on a scale never seen before. The prevalence of these trends has shown that we now exist in a pivotal time in our history that could potentially determine the direction of the future state of mankind. However, in the midst of these challenges there also exists a unique potential for great change in the world.

Most notably, the recent tragedy in Haiti, has displayed a sign that much of the world has never seen before. For the first time humanity has witnessed solidarity, coexistence, and promotion of social awareness amongst all nations and peoples to respond quickly and willingly to the dire needs of human beings and the society around them. For some the tragedy in Haiti, exposed them for the first time to realities of poverty, human suffering and societal degradation. Moreover, what is unknown by some of these people is that these issues exist in many nations and communities around the world.

Thus, this calls one to wonder if we as international communities are able to unify to respond so quickly and willingly to a humanitarian and global cause why can’t other ones around the world be met with the same amount of awareness and effort. If there are so many other social issues around the world that should be brought forth why are they not addressed? Additionally, if there are so many vital causes why can’t we dedicate our time, effort and knowledge to solve them? These are all important questions asked by many people around the world that have recognized the dire need for change of the state of mankind and our planet. But interestingly, what is not known by many people around the world is that there exist sufficient resources, knowledge and welfare to solve many of these issues.

As a result, many leaders around the world have come to the realization that the path to sustainable peace and development of all nations and societies is not based on national interests or the efforts of government leaders but must in fact start with the individual citizen. For humanity to move forward as one global community we as global citizens must not only come together in unity to educate ourselves about these issues but also work concertedly with our efforts and welfare to resolve them. Here in the United States of America as one of the most pluralistic countries in the world that has established itself based upon the notions of equality, liberty and justice for all there exists a great opportunity to initiate this global movement towards sustainable peace and development of all humanity.

Thus, as a part of this movement we at the Foundation for Pluralism have proposed a project in an effort to promote this cause, it will be called Project Soam.

Project Soam will be a collaborative societal project in the DFW Metroplex to promote social awareness, solidarity, development and co-existence amongst humanity. The word Soam comes from an Arabic word that is widely used in the Muslim book the Quran meaning "to abstain from personal actions in order to dedicate oneself towards a noble duty or cause", thus in Project Soam individuals, institutions and service organizations are all called upon to sacrifice their welfare, effort and time to provide sustenance and development towards the most vital causes of humanity and environment around us. As a global community whose wounds and entanglements are felt by all nations and people, let us join together in order to dedicate ourselves towards this great cause for the future security and welfare of all mankind.

Strategic Plan for Project Soam

The Project in itself involves 2 main focuses

1.Raising money, charity and recruiting volunteers for various international development, relief and humanitarian organizations.

2. Recruiting volunteers from all ages and communities to work with organizations and institutions that focus on local humanitarian, societal development and environmental causes. These organizations and institutions causes’ will be featured in the Week of Soam in which individuals will give a few days to dedicating themselves to working on local causes of their choice.

Project Soam Structure

The founder of the Project Soam Kamran Cheikh will speak personally to institutions, schools and organizations to promote Project Soam and establish potential general fund venues. In the months of either April or May depending on the time constraints and number of organizations participating in the project, the Foundation for Pluralism will host Service fair/lecture nights that will give both representatives from both local and international causes a chance to speak about their organization’s work.

Volunteers from various schools, communities and institutions will be encouraged to come and listen to speakers as well as potentially sign up for causes and donate charity. For international organizations this will give them a chance to also collect donations from attendants and also recruit volunteers for their organization. Local causes will have an opportunity to recruit volunteers for their part in the Week of Soam which will occur a few days after the Project Soam service fair/lecture nights. Each individual will choose a few days of their choice dedicated to a cause of their interest. An individual may choose a different cause for each day or choose to work on the same one for each day. On the days of Soam volunteers will start their work in the early morning and work until early evening.

What is needed?

• Local representatives from international humanitarian, development and relief organizations to speak about the work and causes that they deal with as well as collect charity and recruit volunteers to send abroad for their organization.

• Representatives from local service organizations, religious as well as non religious institutions that have particular local humanitarian, development or environmental causes they are interested in promoting to lecture and recruit volunteers for their causes. Even if organizations are not giving a lecture they are encouraged to be present at the service fair nights to recruit volunteers for their cause.

• Volunteers needed whether they be local activists, religious on non religious institutions, High schools and University service and peace groups to sign up for the Week of Soam featured by local organizations. Volunteers are also encouraged to come to the service fair nights who are interested in volunteering with international organizations.

• Donators needed from general community for general fund that will be given to all international organizations that participate in the project. Venues for collecting general fund such as High schools, businesses and Universities are also needed.

Inspired by a passion for peace and service and the Qur’anic call to benefit all humanity, Project Soam was founded by Kamran Cheikh in 2010. He is a graduate from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies. He now works on the Executive Board for the non for profit organizations the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress. Project Soam is an initiative sponsored by the Foundation for Pluralism and supported by its partner organization the World Muslim Congress. (the non-profit status by IRS is in the works).


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