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Gulf News - Wednesday, 8 September 2010 -29 Ramadan 1431 H

Charities reach out with free iftar packets

By VM Sathish

True to the spirit of Ramadan, many social and charitable organisations are giving free iftar meals to thousands of workers in labour camps in Dubai, Sahrjah and Ajman.

Shoukath Ali Eroth, General Secretary, All Kerala College Alumni Forum, which is distributing food packets said: "We have supplied food and water to the workers of three companies.

With the support of a senior official from the Dubai Awqaf and Minors Foundation, our team provided food packets to the labourers."

The alumni group extended meal and other support to another 700 odd employees of another contracting firm.

It distributed about 550 shirts donated by the Fathima Medical Group and conducted a session involving psychologists, legal experts and social workers.

"We have generated money to buy food and water for the workers.

A generous contribution helped us hire a generator and provide temporary electricity for the labour accommodation. The group of volunteers from the association also helped workers of a company in Ajman.

Our team was able to arrange a regular cooked food supply to this camp every night.

"We are getting food for these workers every day. Funds are coming from members contribution and sponsorship by companies and individuals," Shoukat added.

Youth India, an Indian social organisation and Hit 96.7, the Malayalam FM radio station from the Arabian Radio Network is providing iftar meals to hundreds of workers from India, Vietnam, Burma, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Says Ajith Menon, Programme Director, Hit 96.7: "We have started a radio campaign in association with Youth India and about 15 restaurants to provide iftar meal to workers.

Our initial target was only 200 food packets per day, but we reached 1,000 meals per day." He said the campaign started from the first day of Ramadan.

"Our listeners, who are interested in sponsoring 10 to 15 iftar meals, can send an SMS and pay the money in the nearest restaurant. The volunteers of Youth India will collect the food packets and distribute them in labour camps in Sharjah and Dubai. Individual listeners, organisations, churches and restaurants are supporting the campaign."

Two of our Radio Jockeys, Arfas Iqbal and Jean Markos, are present in the labour camps and coordinate the charity work along with Youth India volunteers.

"This is the third year that we are conducting the iftar in labour camps."

Hakkim Perumpilavu, Volunteer, Youth India said the organisation is coordinating iftar programme in various labour camps in Sonapur, National Paints, Al Qouz and Saja industrial area. "Our volunteers distribute about 1,000 Iftar meals every day in Saja labour camps.

The food is provided by various organisations. We are also working with Hit 96.7 Radio to provide iftar meals in labour camps."

The Dubai Municipality is distributing 5,700 Iftar meals daily in the Municipality Labour Camp throughout Ramadan. Iftar meals are distributed to municipality employees living in  different labour camp sites of Dubai Municipality in the city in Muhaisina (Al Qusais), Al Aweer and Al Quoz.

There are free iftar available in most of the mosques.

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