Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

The volunteers who hand out iftar meals to fasting motorists

Red Crescent volunteers spend their evenings distributing iftar boxes to drivers at traffic signals throughout Ramadan.
Emirates Red Crescent volunteers distribute iftar boxes and water to motorists waiting at red lights in the Mushrif area of Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
Emirates Red Crescent volunteers distribute iftar boxes and water to motorists waiting at red lights in the Mushrif area of Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // Being stuck at a red light as the minutes slowly tick down to iftar time can be frustrating for fasting motorists, especially if they do not have food or water on hand.

Hunger and fatigue behind the wheel can result in road rage and dangerous driving as people rush to make it home in time.

But help is at hand – Emirates Red Crescent volunteers are spending their evenings distributing iftar boxes to drivers at traffic signals throughout Ramadan.

Emirati Falah Al Harthi, 20, said he understood what people were going through being stuck in traffic close to maghreb prayers.

“I know what it feels like in that situation when you are fasting and are out at iftar time,” said the student, who was handing out boxes on Airport Road. “There is an eagerness to get home quickly and break your fast.

“People tell me I saved their life when I hand them these boxes at the signals, because they all want to get home early. There have been instances where people go really fast and I feel bad for them.

“I ask them to slow down and hand them a box and tell them even you drive at 80kph or 20kph, you will get home eventually.”

Handing out food boxes to weary drivers is great way to do good during Ramadan, Mr Al Harthi said.

“Ramadan is a time to do good deeds and as a Muslim it is a great thing to do, to help people break their fast. This is why I do this every evening I have free.”

Moroccan Sukaina Bouijourar agreed that helping fasting drivers was in keeping with the spirit of the holy month.

“This is the month of giving and helping people. It is my passion to help people and see them happy, especially when they are fasting,” said Ms Bouijourar, an Etihad flight attendant said.

“As soon as you give them water, they feel so happy and instead of rushing home quickly they lower their pace and are not in a rush any more.”

Volunteers hand out iftar boxes to every driver, whether they are fasting or not.

“The purpose of this service is to break our fast with someone, so we do not choose who to give the iftar boxes to, Muslim or non-Muslim. It is all the same to us and we want to break our fast with them,” Ms Bouijourar said.

The volunteers are accompanied by Abu Dhabi Police to ensure their safety as they walk between cars.

mmannan@thenational.ae

Updated: June 14, 2017 04:00 AM

SHARE

SHARE