Khaild Hoosen Sayed is the newly appointed regional manager of Islamic Relief KZN. He is a hard worker who has heart for improving the quality of life of those in need. His journey at the relief organistion has been an exciting one. Sayed believes in living life with passion, love and humility. Tabloid Newspapers chatted to him about his experience new appointment.
Tabloid Newspapers (TN): How did your journey at Islamic Relief KZN begin?
Khaild Hoosen Sayed (KHS): I came from a poverty background. I did not finish school. My mum was the only one making ends meet as my dad was murdered when he was 36.
In 2010 I was working in Queen Street selling tomatoes for a small shop when I heard that Islamic Relief (IR) was looking for a driver for three months. I applied. On 14 February 2010 I was given the opportunity to work at IR.
I then took the initiative to learn everything about the organisation. Whatever opportunity I could grab at that time, I did. I worked as a labourer carrying boxes, hampers, driving around and doing home visits with caseworkers.
It was an amazing experience being on the field. Hearing people’s stories, I learnt that it was not only me who had challenges growing up.
After the three months, the regional manager at that time saw my capabilities and gave me an opportunity to work at IR. I was part of their support service and gave assistance all departments.
At the time I could not even use a computer. I knew I wanted to be here. In 2015 I was approached to take on position of regional programmes officer, in which I aimed to assist orphans on our database.
TN: What are some challenges you have faced in your journey?
KHS: One of the personal challenges I faced was working in an NGO environment. At times you are required to have certain degrees and some sort of education level to reach a particular point in the organisation.
I was street-smart, but my challenge was learning how to use the computers, learning about proposals and other concepts.
I would do this by myself and then the manager would sit down with me and show me how it was done.
Hearing our beneficiaries’ stories really impacted. In my experience I have learnt lessons and turned my trials into strengths. This made it possible for me to reach my goals.
TN: Why are you passionate about serving your community?
KHS: I lost my dad when I was 12-years -old and losing a father is like being an orphan because of the emotional abuse that you face growing up.
At school I was mocked for having a torn bag. I did not know what lunch I was taking, or how I would pay for photographs, excursion fees or a new pair of school shoes.
These are the factors that gave me my passion as I want to be there for people who were like me. I can relate to them and I know what their needs are.
TN: From driver to manager, how has the transition been?
KHS: Starting off as a driver and then moving up to support service and then to a regional position, the statuses never bothered me.
My passion was just to get out there and make a difference in the community. I tried to make things better for the beneficiaries by networking with others, to get things going for them.
I spoke with people on the field and in the community to hear their views and learn from them. Through this I learnt what was required, where the root problem was and how we were going to fix it.
It was never about the position because that is just a name tag that can be taken away easily. It is knowing that you can support people much more.
My transition is major as I was without any qualifications, or degrees or tertiary education. I learnt it is all about your passion and your humility. In addition, the entire team from IR have always supported me.
TN: As regional manager what are some of your goals?
KHS: My goal is to reach out to as many people as we can, with the support of the community. We want to uplift people, as I have been uplifted. This includes reaching out to our women’s groups. We want public to know who we are and what we are doing.
We want to partner with more organisations as well as with the government, and to see where we can best assist and create more employment opportunities.
TN: How do you motivate your team?
KHS: I motivate my team by giving them responsibilities and by not being a dictator. I show them that they are the leaders of certain projects and this motivates them. I show them that their call counts and that I am here to support their cause.
This applies to the person making tea, to the regional managers. They know that I am always available to hear them out and do whatever I can to assist.
TN: How can public support your organisation?
KHS: For the last few years we are building volunteer database and we are looking for volunteers to come and support projects that we are doing.
Come and assist us with ideas, on how best to help communities. We encourage people to get involved. If the public wants to support us financially, we are very transparent and they can walk in at any time to have a look at our books.
TN: From 2010 to now, what changes have you seen?
KHS: IR has grown significantly. They become more active and more vocal. They have given staff opportunities and looked after us well. At IR you know that you are never carrying the entire organisation by yourself because each person has a responsibility.
TN: You installed 22 bore holes in a period of 18 months, how was this possible?
KHS: It started off with a golf day event where two brothers who assisted the organisation suggested that we raise funds to put up 22 bore holes.
The fundraising team agreed and went to the programmes department asking me to run the assessments. I knew that there was a shortage of water as I would sit in the rural areas at times when we went on distribution. After doing assessments we managed to reach places like Harding and Newcastle.
We also partnered with a very good service provider Agri and Industrial Services, who supported the cause. They saw what was happening in schools, churches, community halls and mosques.
This project was also a learning process for me, at first I did not know much about boreholes or what to expect.
In an area known as the “Devil’s Frying Pan, the school had to close early on very hot days as temperatures would reach 40 degrees. The water we have put there has helped have access to clean accessible water.
TN: Who is your inspiration?
KHS: When I think about my mother, she is my inspiration, although she does not know about it. She makes me want to do more and achieve my goals, so that one day I can say: “It’s okay Ma, you don’t have to stress about anything, I’m here for you”.
I’ve adopted my mums’ character and her personality, where even if someone says something bad to you and it hurts you, you would not want the next person to feel it.
That is my inspiration. She is my everything. She is the reason I get up and want to do things. I honestly think it is because of her prayers that I have got the opportunity to be working at an NGO.
TN: If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?
KHS: I would like to generate more love, passion, inspiration and changing mindsets. I want to encourage people to be yourself and staying humble, as your character makes you.
TN: What are your hobbies or interests?
KHS: Kickboxing is my passion as it teaches you a lot of discipline. I often play around with my child and other people who are interested.
TN: What advice can you give to anyone who wants to make a difference in their community?
KHS: Come and join IR. By assisting our right holders (beneficiaries) you prevent others from turning to other social ills.