Narmeen Rashid is a bachelor's student at OSU in Corvallis; she studies political science and international development- even though she has the brilliance to become a medical doctor- because she believes in an improved earth for all its inhabitants and sees herself as part of the solution. Narmeen can bake; she loves to do it, but it wasn’t until the catastrophic explosions at the ports in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4, 2020, that she began to ask herself what she could do, and the answer became- I can bake. So, in 2020, in response to the paralyzing fear and helplessness that so many world events garner, she baked. Cookies and cupcakes, to be exact, and she sold them and donated the proceeds, ‘a small amount’ she thought of $2,000, to the Lebanese Red Cross— that’s a lot of cookies and cupcakes! After doing such a thing, people came in to support and applaud her efforts, and Narmeen continued on her path. Becoming a student government leader and now a Junior in her program, she is having dialogues with the administration of the school about how best to put into practice her convictions of world peace and understanding among people with seemingly unreconcilable differences. She was asking for space to pray, to be together, to talk. The administration found it hard to imagine such a thing without the eruption of violence and protest, she understood. Then the Israel-Palestine conflict heightened, and again in weeks subsequent October 7, 2023, Narmeen asked herself, ‘what can I do?’ and again the answer came, ‘I can bake.´. Narmeen has a personal connection to all the places she does fundraising for, and in the case of Israel and Palestine, she lived there as a preschooler, in the Eshkol Region she remembers very little except the feeling, and one memory in particular of her devout Muslim mother trying to cross into the Muslim part of Jerusalem to attend pray at the mosque and being denied entry by the Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint. She didn’t understand why. Fast forward to November 2023 and Narmeen is baking again, her parents have purchased all the supplies so that 100% of the proceeds can be donated to the Palestinian Children’s Relief, because when she thinks of Palestine, she thinks of the over 1 million children and youth under 18 years old who are the heartbeat of one of the most densely populated areas on earth- the Gaza Strip- and she knew she had to do something. So, people ordered and bought her delicious cookies and cupcakes en masse. She says she can’t believe how many people wanted to support and do something and not just Muslims, but everyone. Because of that support, she raised $2,500 for the cause, and word got out about her small act of baking as resistance. People talked until it reached the ears of The One Ummah Foundation Founder M. Saeed Rahman, whom Narmeen respectfully refers to as ‘Uncle Saeed’. Once he heard about her efforts, he doubled it with a commitment to match her fundraising making a total donation of $5,000 to the Palestinian Children’s Relief. Narmeen was blown away! She had imagined a similar result as when she fundraised in the past, but this was even greater than what she believed her small act of baking could create, it grew and became big! Narmeen is filled with gratitude. She recognizes that she has learned so much from the Palestinian people- her brothers and sisters – who are suffering daily and still get up for the morning prayer Fajr, She says, “It's a testament to their faith, they say ‘we have to struggle for a little bit and we have heaven for eternity’, their faith has made me a better Muslim – they are praying five times a day, and I’m just going to school. I am so sorry that this has happened, and it has shown us how to be better believers. I hope to continue this kind of work in my professional career to support the refugees and reduce poverty through development, I hope to make an impact.”. As for me, I’m confident she will do precisely that, because Narmeen believes in a world where people with seemingly unreconcilable differences can come together in peace to make big changes in the world. Masha Allah.
Since the beginning of the conflict The One Ummah Foundation has donated over $300,000 to on-the-ground organizations in Gaza, including $25,000 to the Palestinian Childrens Relief. Please support our programs by donating here. Supporting is how small acts grow big, please support Gaza and Palestine