As the cost of living continues to be a concern for many Australians, Mohamed Ghazala, altruistic owner of a Melbourne Jim’s Mowing franchise, is donating his time to mow the lawns of people who have had no other choice but to condense their spending to prioritise life.
The ex-lawyer/ business strategist who couldn’t sit still behind a desk turned his career to a more physical direction two years ago and witnessed the slow digression of customers being able to meet the amount needed to maintain their homes. Despite welcoming a newborn at home, Moh realised he had a few spare hours in the week to contribute towards a stranger’s ease of mind. He put a notice on the Malvern Community Facebook page, letting people know that he would come and clean it up for free if they were struggling to find the money for their lawn upkeep.
“I knew there were people who couldn’t handle or afford to pay for their mowing or garden upkeep. I remember that many people were discussing financial hardship in the (Facebook) group, so I decided to give some of my time, as much as I could, to help someone who has a financial problem or is sick and unable to do the job.
I have a family and expenses and stuff that I need to pay for them and many expenses, but I can afford to do this. Why not spend one, two or three hours every week doing something for someone who really needs help?”
For some elderly customers lacking the strength to complete such a job and rely on services, Mohs’ generosity has arrived at just the right time.
“The first garden I did for free was a bit overgrown. It was a big job, around $800, as there was much work to be done, and we spent half the day there.
After we finished the job, the lady gave me $500, but I felt something was wrong. So I started talking to her, and I learnt that she got this money from someone else because she had to do her garden, so I gave her the money back and told her that’s fine.”
Mohammed has now completed 12 lawns for free to struggling neighbours. You can see some of his work on his Instagram and tiktok at moh_is_here_to_mow.
Times of financial hardship heavily affect franchises like Moh’s. With household income having to be dived up into more conscious avenues, lawn maintenance is noted to be one of the first services to be cut out.
“That’s not easy because even the franchise and business owners, they’re struggling as well. Even if you have 100 customers, at least 20% of them are going to cancel the service because it’s too expensive for them or we’re going to be the first service to get trade off when they go into financial hardship to pay the mortgage whatever it is they have to pay.”
Baring an acute sense of empathy for the position of his surrounding community, Moh understands the large boat that people are cramming into and continues to offer his free services regardless, encouraging other gardening franchises also to get involved.
An unkempt lawn isn’t just unsightly to passers-by; it can also be dangerous. As well as being a tripping hazard if the grass is too long, it can house lovely home snakes, foxes, and insects such as fleas and ticks. Long grass doesn’t only affect the person whose house it is but also any neighbours who have pets passing through, such as a dog or cat that could potentially pick up a bug and scatter it across the neighbourhood.
But knowing this isn’t the main reason for doing this, nor are the many thanks he’s received from grateful clients. Simply having the knowledge of lightening the load for another is all the satisfaction he needs to continue.
“It’s not just about receiving thanks. I have many things here, and I have a lot of blessings. So I think of what I’m receiving and how I can give it back to the community.
I believe we come to this life with nothing, and we’re going to leave with nothing. So the only thing you’re going to take to god is the help you’re giving to other people.”
Mohamed arrived in Australia from Egypt seven years ago. His parents harnessed within him the optimistic attitude of “things will get better” with concentrated effort and honest cooperation. Now their son continues their bright teachings in the land down under, bringing physicality to the attitude as Moh personally looks for ways he can make life better for his community.
Fittingly, Mohs’s wife is also a community pillar herself. Running an NDIS business (National Disability Insurance Scheme) full time, as well as donating her spare time to help people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. She currently sponsors people struggling with sobriety and gives them round-the-clock support in getting back on track with life.
To be of service to another is part of what it means to be Muslim, a value Moh looks to exercise in all corners of his life where he can.
“It’s part of my religion; you are not going to be a good person until you help another person. Try to make things easy for them if you can. We never stop helping people.
If I have something that can help you, I will offer it straight away, and I don’t hesitate. If someone has a problem, I will defend him or her, doing whatever it takes. This is one of the values that we lived with when I was living in Egypt.”
Mohameds personality, culture and faith, already rich in philanthropic acts as a part of daily life, were welcomed with an overwhelming excitement to help him settle into his new environment.
“My English was not even one out of 10; I had little money. I didn’t have much support. I didn’t have any friends or any relatives that I knew here. I worked for an Australian company for a long time; they taught me how to speak English like a true Australian. They gave me advice on how to survive in Australia. Even when I was trying to buy a car and didn’t know anything about the procedures, they helped me with that.
I found people were trying. Even if they are not helping physically or by spending money, they try to show some good attitudes and words to push me forward. On the way, you’re going to find a lot of bad people, but you’re going to find many good people as well. And these good people will motivate you to do more good things here yourself.”
Jim’s group is Australia’s largest franchise and has long been an Aussie household name for quality service, but not many are aware of the ACTUAL Jim himself (David) and his own community endeavours.
A powerful friendship between Mohamed Ghazala and Jim Penman seems inevitable when you look at their characters behind the scenes.
“Jim Penman is one of the most generous and most lovely people you’re going to find in life. Most of his money is going to help other people by either donating, creating chances or by physcially doing alot of things for them. It doesn’t all go back into his pocket. He’s my boss, and he’s my friend as well.”
Jim’s Mowing, which began with a humble $24 in the pocket, now has a whopping 4,800 franchises across four different countries, and that is only the tip of the iceberg. Jim’s group covers 52 divisions or services such as Jim’s dog grooming, beer, health, pool care, pest control and more! All are built to give you the independence of being a business owner with relentless backup and support along the way.
Mohamed shares the humble approach to living fruitfully by supporting anothers, rings loud with the hopes of his success in health, business and endeavours. The example he sets to Melbournes South East and to the rest of the world is in of raw compassion, which we are grateful to have influence our growing community.
If you’re in the Malvern area, you may already see him poking up in the community pages, otherwise you can contact him via his Instagram here. Moh is encouraging other gardeners or franchises to repeat his kind gestures in their own communities or join him in expanding his charitable reach across Melbournes South East.
Every community needs a Moh! Thankyou for continuing to be yourself in these pressing times!