x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Charity iftar set to benefit Palestinian families abroad

Members of Abu Dhabi's Palestinian community will host a charity iftar to raise money for families in Palestine.

ABU DHABI // Members of Abu Dhabi's Palestinian community will host a charity iftar this week to raise money for families in the West Bank and Gaza. Proceeds from the iftar, being held on Wednesday at Abu Dhabi's Beach Rotana Hotel, will go towards the Palestinian Social Committee's Family-to-Family programme. Since 2001, the committee, working with the Red Crescent, has collected money and sent it to families in the Palestinian Territories.

"When the intifada started in 2000 so many families were seeking help - they couldn't work or they lost the people who were earning for the family," said Ammar Kurdi, the committee's head. "So, the community here in Abu Dhabi and Dubai thought we need to help our people." Since then more than Dh8 million (US$2.2m) has been raised and 13,000 families have benefited, though donations have dropped in the past two years, Mr Kurdi said. Through the Family-to-Family programme each Palestinian household receives about Dh360.

The committee is made up of volunteers including Mr Kurdi, who is originally from the West Bank town of Nablus, but who has lived in Abu Dhabi since 1995. "I am able to go back every three to four months, so I am really keeping in touch with what is going on at the moment," he said. "The main problems in the West Bank right now are the Israeli military checkpoints dividing the area and the lack of work. Things are even worse in Gaza. People just want a life, just to work and have liberty."

Tickets for the iftar event are being sold for Dh500, with Dh350 going directly to families in need in the West Bank and Gaza. More than 600 people are expected to attend, according to the organisers. "Usually it is Palestinians who attend the event, and they are our target, but we would encourage everyone and it is open to all who want to donate," Mr Kurdi said. Email albayyara@albayyara.com for more information.

zconstantine@thenational.ae