x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Red Crescent launches Ramadan drive

The UAE Red Crescent launches its annual Ramadan charity campaign, aiming to distribute nearly Dh30 million worth of aid to the needy in 60 countries.

During Ramadan last year, labourers wait for a food at a distribution point operated by the Red Crescent.
During Ramadan last year, labourers wait for a food at a distribution point operated by the Red Crescent.

ABU DHABI // The UAE Red Crescent launched its annual Ramadan charity campaign yesterday, aiming to distribute nearly Dh30 million (US$8m) worth of aid to the needy in 60 countries. Most of the money, about Dh21.5m, would be used to support Ramadan charities in the UAE, while about Dh8m would be disbursed among charities abroad through UAE embassies.

Ramadan is expected to run from about August 21 to September 19. At a news conference announcing the campaign yesterday, Ahmed Hamid al Mazrouei, who became chairman of the Red Crescent two months ago, urged the public to give generously. "We want to serve the kind and generous people looking to give to our charity by designating places for collecting donations," he said. "This takes place at any of our many branches throughout the country."

The charitable campaign includes the Ramadan tents set up earlier this month to distribute an estimated daily 31,500 free pre-dawn and sundown meals - suhur and iftar - at designated points in each emirate. Any member of the public can obtain a meal. Throughout the Muslim world, suhur and iftar are distributed during the holy month, when believers are required to share their wealth with the less fortunate.

Needy families will also receive the traditional Eid packages of new clothing, toys for children and other non-essential goods that are customary for the three-day holiday at the end of Ramadan. During the holiday, it is also customary to slaughter sheep and distribute the meat among poor families along with zakat, money collected as a tax from all Muslims who are able to pay it. Zakat proceeds are distributed through charities such as the Red Crescent.

"We will focus on serving those who qualify to receive our charity, both inside the country and outside, where we provide all sorts of aid to orphans, widows, families in need," Mr al Mazrouei said. Funding for the food distribution programme, in which as many as one million cooked meals may be handed out, comes from private donations and government charities. Last month, the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Charitable Foundation and the Ministry of Social Affairs began distributing more than 15,000 tonnes of food to 45,000 needy families ahead of Ramadan.

The campaign is sponsored by 10 major establishments including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Health Authority-Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company. While these sponsors donate funds to charity for separate projects, they are not listed in this effort as donors but as facilitators for collecting donations. The Red Crescent currently provides such aid on a regular basis in 60 Arab or Muslim countries. It provided a total of Dh301.4m in assistance in 2008, according to its prospectus.

relass@thenational.ae