Saturday, 8 August 2020

MY TAKE: Pest moths in the garden

To anyone has taken up gardening as a hobby, they will certainly know of garden pests; One relatively new to the UK, is the oak processionary moth.  Since arriving in 2006, the moth has been wreaking havoc in oaks across the UK; the moth is not as much as a pest though, as its caterpillars.

My first encounter with these pesky caterpillars, came when my dad and I were hanging a swing on the large oak tree in our backyard. We noticed the silky mess of a nest, and soon identified it as such.

Oak Processionary larvae are covered in miniature hairs, which if touched, can cause serious reactions. Look out for the nests in June/July when the moths lay their eggs.

Once, my sister broke one of the nests with a stick, and the creatures grabbed on. Fortunately, none of the hairs fell on her, and she was fine.

The caterpillar hair can cause rash or skin irritation, trigger allergic reactions and even - if swallowed, cause breathing problems. In the case of finding a nest in your garden, or anywhere around you, do not approach them. Instead, contact the Tree Alert online portal. Alternatively, people can email opm@forestrycommission.gov.uk or call 0300 067 4442.

Once you have reported it, you may call any tree service, and they will come to incinerate the nests wearing special protective equipment. 

by Nuruddin Jheengoor

MY TAKE: Holiday Hunger Challenge

For most people, holidays are a time to have fun and enjoy, and a chance to recharge before school. However, for many families this is not the case. Schools provide free meals to poorer children which is a huge support to them and their families. But since there is no school in the holidays, these children are not provided with free meals, and risk going hungry over the holidays. “Evidence on the impact of hunger on children during school holidays reveals they return to school malnourished, sluggish, and dreary – some even lose ‘significant’ amounts of weight, while others gain a lot of weight.” - foodcycle.org.uk, What is Holiday Hunger? 

This is where the “Holiday Hunger Challenge”, comes in.

The “Holiday Hunger Challenge” is a campaign to raise awareness of what it is like to be hungry in Britain over the school holidays. You live on a food and drink budget of £2.50 a day for one week, July 2020. It raises awareness of “holiday hunger”, to fund foodbanks who help families over the summer and to fund charities like the FoodCycle charity and the FareShare charity, who give free, nutritious meals across the country and relieve some of the pressures on families.

The sad reality is that although people may be doing the challenge for a week out of choice, many people do not have a choice. It’s their life and must stay by this budget. But by doing this challenge people can experience and understand what life is like and how hard it is for some people. That will compel them to give to the needy.

While many go out and enjoy their holidays with fun activities, they fail to realise some of the hardships that families must go through. That’s why it’s a good idea to try the Holiday Hunger Challenge – to understand the challenges poorer families and their children must face.

This reminds me of Tahrik-e-Jadid which Hadrat Musleh Ma‘ud (ra) initiated in 1934 to spread the message of Allah to the corners of the earth.

It began as a temporary scheme, but at the end of nineteen years, Hadrat Musleh Ma‘udra said: "Now that nineteen years are coming to an end, I have decided that Tahrik-e-Jadid will continue up to your last breath."

Some of the demands of Tahrik-e-Jadid were that Ahmadis should lead a simple life and eat simple food, adapt the habit of working with your own hands, and jobless persons should not hesitate to take up even petty jobs so that more and more funds could be collected.

The philosophy of Tahrik-e-Jadid, as put forth by Hadrat Musleh Maud, was to try to save money in every way, to offer as much as we can in the way of Allah.

This shows how far ahead of his time Hazrat Musleh Maud was - ideas he initiated in 1934 are only being implemented by the rest of the world now! May Allah Almighty allow us all to serve humanity and eliminate hunger and poverty around the world. 
 
By Faran Afzal

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