Story and photos By Sultan Jessa
Lisbon – Portugal: An innovative project started at the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, is already paying big dividends.
“We never expected such a huge response,” explained Nafeeza Juma, a member of the women’s activities of the national council.”This project was initiated in keeping with aspirations of Mawlana Hazar Imam to look after and help the under privileged and the less fortunate.”
Since its inception five years ago, the Smart Shop at the Ismaili Centre had distributed more than 1,000 items without any questions being asked.
This initiative is expected to be the first of its kind in the Western world.
Juma told me during a recent visit to Lisbon community members bring used clothes, including suits, jackets, saris, Punjabi dresses, scarves, ties and all sorts of clothing and toys they no longer need.
The items are sorted out and put on display at the shop for community members to pick and choose what they can use.
“This concept is catching up fast,” said Juma.
Plans are to distribute books and small appliances through the shop.
Some of the items are sent to the Aga Khan Foundation for distribution to people struck by natural disasters like flooding and earthquakes.
Juma said many people do not know what to do with discarded clothing and other items.
“We can always redistribute such items,” she said.