Originally from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, ONE Championship athlete Furqan “The Lion” Cheema, 29, is training at Straight Blast Gym Bradford in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom. Recently, he shared why Yemen is close to his heart.
“I want to give my time towards our communities and raise awareness to many topics that need attention including Yemen crisis,” Cheema said. “Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world and children are being robbed of their futures. Why is Yemen important in my heart?”
“Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world with more than 24 million people, some 80 per cent of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children,” Cheema continued. “Since the conflict escalated in March 2015, the country has become a living hell for the country’s children. With COVID-19 now spreading rapidly, Yemen is facing an emergency within an emergency.”
“Sanitation and clean water are in short supply,” the ONE Championship fighter added. “Only half of health facilities are functioning and many that remain operational lack basic equipment like masks and gloves, let alone oxygen and other essential supplies to treat the coronavirus. Many health workers are receiving no salaries or incentives and 10.2 million children don’t have access to basic healthcare.”
On July 18, 2020, Cheema participated in a charity car wash in Bradford, which was organized by Das Malik and Nasir Ali on behalf of Sacred Life Charitable. The event raised just over £2,300, which will be used to send food and other items to families and children in Yemen.
“I got invited randomly from Nasir who mentioned he is doing a fundraising activity that I may be interested in,” Cheema explained. “I asked if it was 100 percent donation policy. He said yes and mentioning Yemen was a big part for me so I decided to take part and spare a couple of hours to assist in washing cars and help out.”
“I managed to do around 20 cars in the couple of hours,” Cheema continued. “Unfortunately, it was a busy Saturday for me as I had training sessions so I spared few hours to contribute towards the cause and help out.”
According to Cheema, the owners of the car wash shop where they held the event allowed their premises to be used without any income for them. On July 5, 2020, he joined The Magic Wishing Well‘s team in giving out hot food to more than 200 homeless and needy people in West Yorkshire.