Father raises over £100,000 to support Tanzanian communities - in honour of his daughter

08 June 2022 8:50 AM

Saghir And Maryam Ahmed

Saghir Ahmed with his daughter Maryam


Birmingham man Saghir Ahmed has raised over £100,000 to support tens of thousands of people in Tanzania in honour of his late-daughter’s wishes.

Saghir’s daughter, Maryam, sadly passed away due to ovarian cancer in 2017. Aged just 7, she told her dad that if he could do anything for her it would be to go and help the most needy in Africa. 

Saghir, who has a full-time job as an Assistant Operations Manager for National Express West Midlands, raised an incredible £14,000 within two months of starting his mission on behalf of Maryam. 

The 37-year-old donated the money to support the installation of four community water wells in remote Tanzanian villages. His efforts to honour Maryam’s wishes has given thousands of locals access to an essential source of clean and safe water. 

The fundraising father, who has three other children, has since raised thousands more, including £20,000 towards the construction of a village mosque, and another £6,500 for a community water well for a place where water levels are extremely low. 

Between January and April 2022 he raised £20,000 towards clothes for orphaned Tanzanian children to wear for Eid celebrations, as well as books and meals for hundreds more children who often only have access to a very small amount of food each day.

Saghir, who lives in Alum Rock, said: “Two weeks before Maryam passed she told me that she wanted to build water wells in Africa for those who are less fortunate, so it was really important to me that I try and do this for my daughter.

“People in the villages were crying with joy, which was so much more than I expected. It really hit me and is the best thing I ever did.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of my family, friends and my local community. Thanks to everybody’s help I am able to fulfil my daughter’s wishes and I am forever grateful. 

“The people I met in those Tanzanian villages have nothing, so these small changes to us make such a huge difference to them.”

Working closely with UK-based charity Islamic Help, Saghir has raised over £100,000 in total to fund 10 water wells, 1,300 Qurans, 3,000 Iftar meals, 400 children’s outfits, 1,200 fruit trees, a mosque, plus drinks, sweets, and footballs for youngsters to play with.  

Mohammed Ilyas, from UK-based charity Islamic Help, said: “Words alone cannot express the magnitude of Saghir’s achievements or reflect the love, selflessness and dedication that he has shown in honouring his daughter’s memory by helping some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. He truly is an inspiration and a shining beacon of humanity.”

Joe Khan, Operations Manager at National Express West Midlands, said: “I speak on behalf of all his colleagues here at National Express when I say that we are extremely proud of Saghir.

“He has put his heart and soul into honouring his precious daughter Maryam’s wishes. Saghir has raised an incredible amount of money to help those less fortunate than ourselves. He’s an extremely humble man but should rightly be proud of everything he has done and will continue to do.”

In November 2022 Saghir will visit the completed mosque and water wells that have recently been installed. He pays for all of his own travel and accommodation, ensuring that all donations go towards supporting the projects. While there, Saghir also hopes to be able to leave more Qurans, footwear and some sewing machines so that locals can fix and sew clothes. 

To support Saghir’s mission, visit his JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/saghir-ahmed4. Updates on projects supported in memory of his daughter Maryam are regularly posted on the dedicated Instagram page, Maryam’s Wish Foundation: www.instagram.com/maryamswishfoundation/.