While teaching in Africa in the 1980s, Mohammed Ali saw the devastating effects of poverty up close. He recognised the same struggles in his birth country, Pakistan, and across the Asian sub-continent.
So, when Mohammed retired in 2018 after a long career as a biochemist and university lecturer, he launched HelpingACT to help people in need.
The charity provides food, clothing and household items to vulnerable Canberrans including migrants and refugees, international students, domestic violence affected, people with disabilities and the homeless.
Demands for food tripled during COVID-19 and the organisation was active across Canberra.
During the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20, Mohammed donated goods to fire-affected areas and prepared meals for families at evacuation centres.
He and his volunteers also support other organisations, including Companion House, Havelock Housing, the Early Morning Centre homelessness hub, Woden Community Service, Community Services #1 and several local street pantries.