An ex-bus driver and singer has opened up about how growing up in a rough area of Oldham inspired him to raise around £3 million for charity.
Born and raised in Glodwick, Naseeb Abbas, otherwise known as Prince Naseeb, became a bus driver at the age of 17. He did this for 13 years, while also pursuing his passion as a nasheed singer.
Nasheeds are songs that carry beliefs and lessons about Islam.
Prince Naseeb, 32, told the M.E.N.: ” I was working full time as a bus driver, when a friend called me and invited me on a trip to Jordan tohelp Syrian refugees there.
“He told me, ‘Y ou’re a nasheed artist. People know you for your vocal talents and you’ve got a following. Come to Jordan, it will be beneficial for yourself and for others.’
“I remember thinking, no one is going to donate to me. It’s not easy handing over money to a random person. But I went to Jordan and raised £45,000 to deliver aid there. It shocked me.
“On our social media, we were showing ‘this is how much a food pack costs, this is how many people we are feeding.’ People liked seeing that on my Instagram and Snapchat. It went absolutely viral.
“From then, I started going abroad every single year to do charity work. I estimate it’s about £3 million which I have raised over the last couple of years.
“It’s been an amazing journey. The amount of money we have raised, the people we have supported and the prayers we have received from them, it’s phenomenal.”
Distributing aid in poverty-stricken countries is an emotional experience for Prince Naseeb.
“What stands out to me is seeing how much poverty there is around the world,” he said. ” A bag of rice is an everyday thing for us in the UK. But a bag of rice, for a family in Yemen, could be the difference between life and death.
” So many times, I have seen people lining up for food packs and it has put me in tears.”
He also raised £250,000 to deliver food packs in Bangladesh and £300,000 for families affected by famine in Yemen.
Additionally, Prince Naseeb became an ambassador for the Kashmir Orphan Relief Trust (KORT), one of Asia’s biggest orphanages, with a wider mission to help crisis-stricken communities around Pakistan.
In January, Prince Naseeb met with then-Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, to discuss KORT’s work for orphans, even missing a major family milestone to do so.
“My daughter was born in January and I only saw her for six hours because I had to fly out to Pakistan to meet Imran Khan,” he revealed. “I had to leave my daughter and my Mrs in the hospital. My family was very supportive.
“Imran Khan visited our orphanage and he said he has never seen anything like this in Pakistan. It’s a state of the art building.
” We have also built 150 houses in Pakistan and we’ve supplied 160 massive oxygen tanks and 10 ventilators for a hospital. That cost us about £70,000. We raised that money in a couple of days and we saved lives, because people were dying from Covid.”
This summer, Prince Naseeb will return to Pakistan to carry out more charitable work with KORT.
At the height of the pandemic, Naseeb also raised £4,636.59 for the NHS. As temperatures in the UK soared, he helped distribute water bottles, fans and biscuits to frontline workers.
Growing up in a poverty-ridden estate in Oldham, Prince Naseeb experienced a fair share of childhood struggles, which fuels him to do good for others. The Oldham riots of 2001, a brawl between teenagers which sparked Britain’s worsts race riots for decades, took place on his doorstep.
Petrol bombs, rioting and stand-offs with police followed, with outbreaks of violence continuing on in places such as Burnley and Bradford.
Prince Naseeb’s early life saw him witness widespread drug and alcohol abuse within his local community, which is an issue he wants to raise awareness of.
The father-of-two continued: “I come from a very run down area. My mum was a single mum, she brought me up on her own. That motivated me and drove me.
“There was a lot of gun crime and gangs here. Literally, on my doorstep, there were massive riots- it started in Glodwick and it just ended up in every part of the country.
“But Glodwick i s improving a lot. I am working closely with the police on issues in our area.
“Recently, there was an issue with drugs in a few spots, so we collaborated with the police and with drug dealers, believe it or not, to work on that.”
From young fans to the older generations, Prince Naseeeb gets recognised by people all over the world, thanks to the millions of streams he has generated on his YouTube and Spotify channels.
Throughout the year, his calendar is booked up with requests for him to perform at weddings and events. He enjoys singing in Urdu, Punjabi and Arabic, but has also been requested to sing in other languages. Performing is also the perfect platform to amass more donations to charity.
“I absolutely love performing,” he said. ” I have done 50 weddings this year alone. I enjoy talking to people at weddings and telling them about my charity work. It works wonders.
“I have walked out of weddings with thousands of pounds of donations because people say ‘we want to donate, we are big fans.’
“Wherever I go, I get recognised.People take pictures with me and they are starstruck!
“Parents have said ‘instead of watching cartoons, my child is listening to your nasheeds.’ It’s rewarding- my nasheeds area relaxed way of learning about Islam.”
Social media helped launch Prince Naseeb’s music career. His stage name is a play on name of British boxing icon Prince Naseem.
“When Facebook was new, I posted a clip of me singing and that got 4 million views,” he explained. “All of a sudden, my name ‘Prince Naseeb’ went viral, because it was something different, and I used to do boxing in school, so people picked up on that name.”
It was also Prince Naseeb’s social media helped him land an appearance on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway , after a TV producer discovered his impressive charity work.
Prince Naseeb added: “My family and I went down to ITV studios and they seated us right at the front. I thought, this doesn’t make sense, there’sall these people standing behind us in the queue.
“During the show, Ant started walking around in the audience, pointing out people who had raised money for charity.
“Then, he came towards me and said ‘Naseem Abbas has raised £900,000!’
“I was the only one there that raised that total. If you added up everyone’s total, you still wouldn’t have got £900,000. It was amazing.
“They said I had won five free tickets to Florida and I thought ‘whoa, this is big now!’
“I am very grateful to God. When you do good to others, good comes to you. It’s rewarding for my family too, with how they have supported me.”
Prince Naseeb’s appearance on Saturday Night Takeaway can be viewed on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lWyzYXnqMQ.
To donate to Prince Naseeb’s KORT appeal, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/zakaat4kort.
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