"I’m just the boy next door doing what any good citizen should be doing. Not any different than anyone else."
- Zahir Haider, BEng Engineering with Management 1990
A Stirling-based charity, set up by Edinburgh Napier alumnus Zahir Haider, has been collecting donations of food and protective equipment to support front line healthcare workers and those needing support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zahir launched Stirling Aid in 2018 with the aim of preventing and relieving poverty in Scotland and abroad.
His charitable work stems from his belief in supporting the members of his community, both those around the corner and around the world. When Zahir learned that a carer, who was looking after a relative, caught the virus because they didn’t have the necessary protective equipment, he jumped into action.
Through financial contributions and donations of equipment, Stirling Aid has provided local care homes with masks, gloves, 3D printed visors, face shields, hand sanitizer and hand cream for healthcare professionals who continually wash their hands.
Working with a team of 12 volunteers, Zahir used the community hall at the Central Scotland Islamic Centre in Stirling as his base.
On one side of the centre they collected, organised and distributed PPE equipment. On the other side of the room they kept the tinned goods, bags of pasta and other essentials that were generously donated by local residents and shops. Once a week, the Salvation Army drove to the Centre and Zahir and his team filled up the van. As of mid-May, 40 big boxes of food were distributed by Stirling Aid to help some of the most vulnerable people in Stirling.
Zahir started this operation because those on the front line were in desperate need of protective equipment. He is incredibly proud of the Stirling community for coming together and plugging the gap. He hopes the supply chain will soon catch up with demand and then they will be able to take a step back.
To learn more about Stirling Aid please visit their website or Facebook page.
In January, when the world was first becoming aware of coronavirus, alumna Fangxue Wang, MBA 2018 set up a volunteer action group to provide support to front line healthcare workers in Wuhan, China.
The group included staff member Wendy Wu, as well as alumni and students from multiple UK universities.
After rigorous research by the group to ensure the equipment met the required standards, 360 goggles and masks were sent to Wuhan and Ya'an. When the virus began moving around the world, so did their support. In April, their support reached Edinburgh when they donated essential face masks to care homes.
Alongside this good deed, Fangxue joined forces with current Edinburgh Napier student Dixiao Shen and International Partnership Manager, Joe Zhou, to distribute health packages, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate-General in Edinburgh, to the University's Chinese students.
If that wasn’t enough, Fangxue did an interview about her good deeds and this video went viral on Weibo – the Chinese social media platform. It’s since been viewed over 12 million times!
If you’d like more information about Fangxue’s voluntary work, you can contact her through the alumni team.
You may have heard about the efforts of School of Arts & Creative Industries workshop technician, Colin Malcolm, and product design lecturer, Ruth Cochrane, who designed and manufactured face shields for the NHS using the facilities and equipment at our Merchiston campus. Hours after hearing that nurses were having to resort to making their own masks, they began designing the first sample.
But did you know an alumnus was also involved?
Fraser Hunter, BDes Product Design, had recently been furloughed from his job as a product developer when he learned about Colin and Ruth’s work through social media. Eager to use his free time to give back, Fraser got in touch with his former lecturer, Ruth, to offer his assistance. Ruth promptly put him (and his car) in charge of distribution and he has since delivered around 200 face shields to hospitals in Scotland.
We are so proud of all the members of our community who have made a real difference in these extraordinary times. Get in touch if you’d like to tell us your story.