While earning his LL.M. degree at Berkeley Law, Mustafa Farooq ’16 suffered an unimaginable tragedy—the death of his only child, nine-month-old Hasan, from a rare genetic disorder. Nearly 1,500 miles from his Edmonton home, Farooq had been in Berkeley for only half a year.
“I could have never imagined the support I received,” he says. “It’s hard to quantify.”
LL.M. classmates from all over the world rallied on his behalf. Class President Karin Gaudet-Asmus organized students to cook and bring food to his family, and many attended Hasan’s funeral at a Muslim community center in Fremont.
“I can never fully describe what it meant to me to have my friends there on that day,” Farooq says. “I think it would have been soul-crushing not to.”
Gaudet-Asmus initially planned to have volunteers either cook or donate money for groceries. But those who cooked refused to accept grocery funds, paying for the food themselves.
With $600 of leftover donations, Farooq’s classmates decided to make a meaningful, enduring gift: a brightly colored well in Rojhan, Pakistan, near his family’s roots, that bears Hasan’s name and serves about 200 people in an impoverished area.
Farooq’s classmate and UC Village neighbor Fawaz Alawadhi coordinated the project. Described by Gaudet-Asmus as a “compassionate person, loyal friend, and skilled organizer,” Alawadhi searched for a “continuous and stable” project that would aid poor people. He explored options with the Al-Nouri Charitable Society, and the well idea gained traction.
“We considered it as an ongoing charity endowment that will last a long time and not only reward the donators during their lives, but continue to reward them after their death,” Alawadhi says.
Farooq, who saw photos of the well last fall, says it “symbolizes a means through which Hasan’s good deeds continue on, and by which his mother and I continue to benefit from their blessings.”
“I will never forget this,” he says.
Gaudet-Asmus will never forget how her “classmates came together to support Mustafa and leave behind a dignified memory for his son—a well that gives life.”