Hearts of Gold: Gestures that restore faith in humanity

Some gestures are worth much more than their weight in gold.

Rohingya refugee in Delhi, Amina Khatoon, did not hesitate and sold her last piece of jewellery – a gold bangle – when she saw news footage of a Turkish woman and her children helpless under the rubble of the recent devastating earthquake.

Amina, 56, and her family, are no strangers to turmoil and fled Myanmar 18 years ago, lost their slum on the banks of the Yamuna to a fire in 2018. In 2021 she bought a pair of gold bangles with four years’ savings but had to sell one of them for emergency surgery she needed.

“Had I been back home in Myanmar, we would have sold some of our land and donated. I feel good that I am able to do something because I had this bangle. We have faced what people there are facing after the earthquake — to be without a home and support,” Amina told The Telegraph.

Amina’s family bought cookies, jackets, milk powder, women’s clothes and blankets; filled two taxis with it and drove to the embassy from their dwelling in South East Delhi’s Zakir Nagar.

“Their plight breaks my heart. This can happen to any of us. Giving to them is the best use of my bangle,” Amina said when asked if she had contributed more than she could afford.

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Earlier this week 120 gold bars weighing 60 kilograms worth over ¥500 million ($3.8 million) were donated to a village in northeastern Japan by an individual to the municipality of Tanohata in Iwate devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

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In 2017, Iran’s Olympic weightlifting champion Kianoush Rostami put his gold medal up for auction to raise money for the victims of a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that left thousands dead and injuredin a remote border area between Iran and Iraq.

Rostami, who won gold at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, said the disaster left him desperate to help those affected. He said, “I consider it my duty to take a step, however small, to help my beloved fellow countrymen who have suffered as a result of the quake.”

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While these golden gestures made the headlines, social media platform Twitter witnessed a similar generous exchange online.

An aid worker in Syria, Maseeha Saloojee posted about receiving a gold necklace donation from a widowed sister in an effort to help the victims of the Syrian earthquake. “She simply took it off, gave it to me and said: “Please sell this and use the money for those who need it.”

In response to the gesture, an anonymous user wrote to the aid worker donating an amount equal to the value of the jewelry, asking for it to be returned.  “The poster has since donated the amount and I returned the chain to the widowed sister. She tried insisting that I keep it but I told her it’s an amanah trust that I give it to her.”

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