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IR will distribute over 100,000 food packs this Ramadan
26 July 2012
Assitan and her family with the Ramadan food pack
"The general public is becoming ever more generous; over three million
pounds has been raised for the packs – over one million pounds more than
Islamic Relief has started its Ramadan Seasonal Programme, distributing over 100,000 food packs to over 25 countries around the world, including South Africa and Zimbabwe for the first time. The general public is becoming ever more generous; over three million pounds has been raised for the packs – over one million pounds more than last year.
In Yemen, Kenya, Somalia and Niger – where there are food insecurities, Islamic Relief has increased the nutritional value of the pack to help mitigate against malnutrition levels. Islamic Relief believes prevention is the best approach for protecting people’s wellbeing and livelihood, especially children’s.
The Ramadan food pack will last a family at least two weeks or more. It can make a significant difference to people’s lives as they can focus on the holy month, and not worry about sourcing food for a few weeks. Islamic Relief aims to select families who are the most vulnerable and in need, such female-headed households, people with disabilities, and families consisting of orphans.
Each family receives five or more basic items in line with customs, to make sure the food is suitable and even enjoyable for them. In Indonesia, food includes instant noodles, in Bangladesh mushuri lentils and Bosnia macaroni – all reflecting local diets. Danish Aziz of Islamic Relief India describes their approach to selecting food “Whether we are distributing in the villages of Murshidabad, or the coffee estates of Wynad in Kerala, we are making sure people in need are getting the food of their choice and liking. A villager in West Bengal will get their choice of parboiled rice; another beneficiary somewhere in Andhra Pradesh will be eating the finest Sona Masuri rice”.
Lending a helping hand in Mali
In Mali, where half the population is below the poverty line, four million people are affected by food insecurities. The crisis has been exacerbated by internal conflicts in January 2011 leaving 400,000 people displaced and access to north Mali restricted. Due to the shortage of safe water, Mali is also facing emerging cholera outbreaks.
Assitan Balayira, 45 a widowed mother of seven children is from Banankabougou village in Mali. She received a Ramadan food pack consisting of staple foods; rice, millet, oil, sugar and spaghetti.
She described how her family had suffered from food securities for over 20 years, even during the lifetime of her husband. She is currently the main breadwinner of her family. She must rely on washing clothes to earn money to feed her family, but it is never enough. “The effect can be seen clearly. All my children are ill-fed and exposed to illnesses due to bad nutrition.” Neither does she get enough work “If I don’t find any clothes to wash, my children and I will spend the day on an empty stomach.”
For Assitan, Ramadan is a time where she does as much praying and worship as she can. Receiving the pack meant that Assitan had piece of mind, and was able to fast for the duration of Ramadan: “I greet wholeheartedly the donors who have granted the Ramadan food package to my family and I. Please remember this: I stopped fasting on the 20th day of Ramadan last year due to the lack of food. I now will fast all the 30 days of Ramadan thanks to the Ramadan food pack”. She added “I cannot tell you the depth of my happiness and joy in receiving this pack.”
Assitan hoped that her children will become educated one day “I wish that God helps them to study as far as possible so that they gain excellent degrees and jobs, so that I can eat three times a day and sleep in a good house”.