The Office of Tableegh Ansarullah ACT organised pamphlet distribution at the Lifeline Bookfair on 19th of September 2015. The bookfair venue was Budawang building at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC).
Lifeline is a national charity providing Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Lifeline was founded in 1963 by the late Reverend Dr. Sir Alan Walker, when he took a call from a distressed man who later took his own life. Determined not to let isolation and lack of support be the cause of more deaths, Sir Alan launched a 24-hour crisis support line. This service (13 11 14) now answers around 1,800 calls each day, with around 50 calls from people at high risk of suicide.
Lifeline Canberra's Bookfairs raise a major portion of the funding needed to keep the suicide prevention 13 11 14 Telephone Crisis Support service available to the community. The EPIC Bookfairs offer around 250,000 donated items for sale, mostly books, weighing in at about 20 tonnes.
Two types of pamphlets were chosen for the occasion, Muslims for Peace and Muslims for Loyalty. There were a total of 4 volunteers and the distribution was conducted from around 10am till 12:30pm. Originally, we tried to obtain permission to distribute pamphlets inside the exhibition hall but we could not get permission to do that. We met the incharge of the Religious Section first and then Director of Commercial Operations. The Director finally gave us permission to distribute pamphlets in front of the exhibition's exit provided we were low-key and there was no adverse reaction from the public. The Director also gave us a tour of the exhibition and showed us how things were laid out in the building.
Since we were asked to be low-key by the Director, we decided not to put on the Ahmadiyya T-shirts so that we were less visible. The 4 Ansar formed an arc outside the exhibition's exit, greeted exiting public cheerfully and offered them pamphlets. The public's response was overwhelmingly positive. During the 2.5 hours, not a single negative sentence was said to us. People showed a lot of appreciation for our initiative and expressed sympathy for our plight. Many people took the time to stop and chat with us for extended periods of time. We managed to distribute 665 pamphlets within a short period of 2.5 hours with only 4 volunteers. Vast majority of the public accepted the pamphlets from us happily unlike what we have experienced at other venues. We reckon the difference in attitude was due to the fact that people who come to bookfairs are interested in reading all kinds of stuff so it was easier for them accept the pamphlets.
All in all, this was a refreshing experience for Ansarullah ACT and we intend to give bookfairs high priority when we distribute pamphlets in future.
Pamphlet distribution organised by:
Amir M. Syed
Muntazim Tableegh ACT
Report written by:
Khalid M. Syed
Zaeem Ansarullah ACT