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“I had to remind myself this was still Scotland,” says poverty relief worker

Rizwan Rafik and his Taught By Muhammad colleagues work on the front line of tackling poverty. They are pictured in 2016.
Rizwan Rafik and his Taught By Muhammad colleagues work on the front line of tackling poverty. They are pictured in 2016.

A charity worker leading efforts to tackle poverty in Dundee says members of the public would be shocked by levels of deprivation in their city.

Rizwan Rafik, of social charity Taught By Muhammad, said there are times he has to pinch himself to remind him the scenes he is witnessing are in Scotland.

Big-hearted Rizwan works on the front line in both social cafes throughout Dundee and in delivering food parcels to families referred for help.

The charity worker regularly meets people who are living without basic necessities and while he and colleagues try to help, Rizwan concedes he is seeing more and more people in need of assistance.

He said: “There are houses I have gone to where I have gone outside and had to remind myself I was still in Scotland.

“I don’t think some people realise the situation that some of these people find themselves in. It’s shocking.

“At winter time we notice an increase in referrals for the foodbank because people are having to choose between eating and heating.

“When you’re meeting people with kids who don’t have basic things like nappies you know there’s an issue. It’s a shame.”

Rizwan and his colleagues work hard to offer support to people relying on their services.

Linking people to council initiatives or benefit advisers are additional services offered to Dundonians struggling with deprivation.

Despite their hard work, Rizwan sees little evidence of levels of poverty across Dundee reducing.

He explained: “The numbers have not changed, they’re still the same.

“It’s not like there has been a decrease.

“I can see that there’s still a problem with poverty.

“We rely on public donations, so if people want to even donate a tin of beans it would be great.”

Anyone wishing to drop off donations to Taught By Muhammad’s food bank can do so by visiting their depot located at Dundee’s 31 Dunsinane Avenue.

Donations can also be made online at www.taughtbymuhammad.com

Social cafes are run by the group on Mondays in Douglas Community Centre and on Tuesdays in Charleston Community Centre.

 

 

 

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