His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, the current worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Fifth Khalifah of the Promised Messiah, lived for eight years in the great continent of Africa. As a young man some thirty years ago, he devoted his life in the service of his faith. Service to humanity forms an integral part of Islamic belief; to discharge the rights of mankind is as essential as worshipping the Divine. Love and compassion towards all has been a hallmark of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community since its inception. Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmadrh, the Third Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Third Khalifah (Successor) to the Promised Messiah, was the first Khalifah of the Promised Messiah to travel to Africa in person, in 1970. During his epic travels in the continent he witnessed at first hand the needs of the African people. Inspired by the touching scenes on his visit, Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmadrh established the Nusrat Jehan Scheme, the aim of which was to establish schools, hospitals and clinics, often in remote areas where such facilities were unavailable. Many Ahmadis served and continue to serve, selflessly in African countries through this scheme, devoting all their energy and skills to helping Africans in education and healthcare, often in remote areas of Africa.
Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmadrh sent the young Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba to Ghana under the Nusrat Jehan Scheme. His Holiness advised Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba that by virtue of belonging to the family of the Promised Messiah – the founder of Ahmadiyya Community – he should set a good example, as people would observe his conduct closely. Leaving his wife and baby daughter behind, in their hometown, Rabwah, in Pakistan Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba travelled to Ghana for the purpose of serving as a teacher and then later as a principal in some of the most deprived areas of the country, joining scores of other Ahmadis who had similarly dedicated their lives and were serving in various in Africa. His family later joined him at a time when Ghana was passing through difficult economic circumstances. Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba experienced life first-hand in Africa; fetching water from the wells, travelling on dirt roads on the “bone-shaker” vehicles with its wooden benches, and most importantly, coming into contact with thousands of Africans and becoming acquainted first hand with their disposition and needs. His Holiness helped the school he was posted at to grow to such an extent that he would have to travel himself to obtain the building materials for its construction in Ghana.
Having served in Africa for 8 years, it is little wonder then that after he was Divinely bestowed with the mantle of Khilafat and became Supreme Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba inspired and initiated an array of wide scoping projects to provide healthcare and education to deprived areas in Africa. Dedicated teams of Ahmadis are currently working all across Africa in projects to install water wells and supply energy to African villages, operate free medical camps to provide food, medical aid and essential needs to those in requirement.
To date, the Water For Life project has installed hundreds of water wells in Africa providing water to nearly 100,000 people; in total over 800 water wells have now been established. The Nusrat Jehan scheme now operates over 600 secondary schools in 12 African countries. In Burkina Faso, eye clinics run by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, have conducted over 4000 operations. In Mali, Niger, Benin, Sierra Leone and Ghana “model villages” are being formed to provide light by solar power and water pumps for irrigation and clean drinking water. These “model villages” will also provide computer training, sewing classes, street lights, vocational schools and other facilities.
Over 200 solar energy systems have been installed in numerous African countries. Thirty nine hospitals and clinics are being run across Africa by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. In countries such as Liberia, Benin, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone, free medical camps have been set up inside villages. Just last year alone over 20,000 patients were seen and hundreds of thousands of people were provided with food. This is a mere fraction of the work being conducted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Africa.
His Holiness is leading this massive campaign to enable Africans to become self-sufficient. To this end the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has, in several areas where water wells have been installed, trained the locals so that in future, they are able to stand on their own feet. Indeed all the services being rendered by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to Africans are done indiscriminately, regardless of faith or tribe When His Holiness calls for the world to help Africa, he speaks from a sense of deep-seated honesty and integrity derived from his personal experiences.
“I have lived in Africa” His Holiness said at the Ahmadiyya Pan African Association in London in 2010, “I can testify that there are many supremely intelligent African people. When a well-educated person goes to Europe, America and other countries then the locals cannot help but be impressed by his intelligence. Thus, nature has not been unjust to anyone; rather, it is humans who do not utilise the capabilities bestowed upon them in a proper manner.” His Holiness has repeatedly delivered a similar message to all Africans:
“I truly believe that the time is fast approaching for Africa to lead the world! And in order to lead the world it is necessary to bring about revolutionary changes within you. Every citizen and every leader must put aside their own thoughts and interests in order to strengthen, consolidate and serve the national interest.”
Thus when his Holiness speaks about this great Continent, he speaks from the heart; His message in regards to what Africa needs to do to obtain true and everlasting independence, is essential for all of us to study in detail.