Sheikh Hasan Rubel, 35, pictured with his wife Afsana Anjuman and 2-year-old daughter Arveen Raheef, was sitting in the front row of worshippers at the Al Noor mosque when he was shot several times on March 15.
Sheikh Hasan Rubel is grateful to receive a “gift” of at least $25,000 from a fund set up for victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.
The now father-of-two was shot three times while worshipping at Al Noor Masjid on March 15, and is one of 40 people wounded by bullets in the attack to receive $25,000 from the Our People, Our City fund managed by the Christchurch Foundation.
Those who lost their next of kin in the shootings will receive $70,000 by mid-December.
Former Christchurch City councillor Raf Manji led efforts to decide how the nearly $12 million fund would be distributed, with the help of the Muslim community.
One bullet damaged Rubel’s pelvis and left him needing crutches. Another bullet damaged his lower intestine.
He has needed four surgeries, including recently having his bowel repaired so he no longer needs an external stoma.
“I now have other issues like shrapnel in my jaw.
“I’m doing good, but I think it will take some more time to repair.”
On top of the $25,000 for bullet wounds, he will likely be eligible for medical support funding from the Christchurch Foundation.
Rubel said he felt the funds were being distributed fairly, as his situation could not be compared to those who lost loved ones.
“Money will never bring their family member back.
“I know lots of people will be not happy. You can’t make everybody happy.”
The money was a gift and he would be “really happy” with whatever he received, he said.
His daughters, 2-year-old Arveen and 11-week-old Mahreen, would have their tertiary education supported through the Christchurch Foundation’s Education Fund.
“For people like us, we’re always really thoughtful about our kids’ education.”
Sazada Akhter can no longer walk after being shot in the chest and abdomen at the Al Noor Masjid. She and husband Mohammed Mashud have now bought a house with the help of ASB and the Our People, Our City fund.
Finding a wheelchair-accessible home had been a challenge.
Manji said the foundation supported the couple’s house hunt early on, and he was at the auction when they secured a home.
They will move in before Christmas, once ACC has made adjustments.
“It’s been a good demonstration of a sensible thing to do with the payouts, which is to put it into a home,” Manji said.
In a statement sent to families on Tuesday night, the Christchurch Foundation said: “It is important to understand that these funds are not compensation, reparation or restitution. They are a gift that represents love and support.”
Manji said he had 160 meetings with members of the Muslim community over the last few months and received professional advice about funds distribution in relation to the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, and the 2018 Toronto van attack.
The funding would help victims plan for the future. They would face many challenges, particularly over the next year with the accused terrorist appearing in court and the first anniversary of the shootings, he said.
The Victims’ Fund, which provides cash support for those directly affected by the attacks, totals $7m and includes $3.57m for next of kin, $1m for those injured by bullets, $1.375m for children and widow support, $400,000 for medical support for those with severe injuries, and $500,000 for a hardship fund.
The $1.5m Education Fund will support higher education for children aged under 18 at the time of the attack. It is estimated about 100 children will receive $15,000 each.
A $500,000 Community Support fund will remain open for further donations to help the Muslim community’s long-term recovery and wellbeing.
There were about 60 donors of significance, but donations ranged from 50 cents to $1.5m – the largest single payment.
About $2m has already been paid out, including to purchase two ambulances for St John and distribute $120,000 worth of grocery and petrol vouchers.
“That really has just taken the edge off for people,” Manji said.