Madrassa in heart of Barking Muslim community set to close over ‘exorbitant’ rent
A madrassa in the heart of the Muslim community in Barking Riverside is about to close due to exorbitant rental costs.
The madrassa, part of the Rivergate Centre, a community center on Minter Road, needs to raise just over £2,000 to continue to open at weekends next year.
After the madrassa first opened under the auspices of the Riverside Muslim Association in 2013, it has proven to be a vital space for the Muslim community and a welcoming service to the wider Barking community River side.
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It has not been able to reopen properly since the start of the pandemic due to an increase in demand for rents.
The fundraiser so far has raised an impressive £5,830 against a target of £8,000.
Liakim Ladipo, a volunteer and director of the madrassa, says it’s amazing to see the Barking Riverside community coming together to help defray next year’s costs after the pandemic has hit so many hard financially.
He decided to start a fundraiser because he didn’t think it was right to start overcharging parents for school fees to cover weekend space costs.
“Eight years ago we came together because as a community we realized there was no community center and there was a lack of cohesion in terms of clear community activities In the region,
“We started a weekend school for the children at the center because there was a need, the community was growing and we wanted to provide a service to the community that was locally based,” Liakim told MyLondon.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the madrassa holds classes for children and young people aged five to 17 and teaches Quranic studies, duas (prayers), Islamic studies, stories and Akhlaaq (good manners).
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Additional English and Maths lessons are also offered should students need extra help with their studies at school and a free lunch is provided on the day.
The madrassa exists in Barking Riverside, a newly developed area of east London which came into being when then London Mayor Boris Johnson announced his bold plans to build 10,000 new homes and a promenade and an attractive marina – which has been dubbed “Barcelona-on-Thames” .
Nearly a decade later, the madrassa and the Riverside Muslim Association have built a strong community base that has helped communities at large in times of need.
When a fire suddenly tore through a new apartment building in June 2019, the Community Madrassa was one of the first organizations to respond and help those affected by offering coffee and cookies to everyone.
The money raised will allow the madrassa to operate for two hours on a Saturday and Sunday throughout 2022.
You can read more about Liakim’s fundraising here.
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