Damascus – Dozens of Damascus men and women are lying behind wooden tables on the south wall of the Umayyad Mosque early in the morning, preparing and cooking nearly a thousand meals a day, which are offered to families in need during the holy month of Ramadan as part of a The youth initiative called “Saeed Kitchen”.
Rasha (22 years old), one of the volunteers of the initiative, told Al Jazeera Net, “The initiative has been active in its work during the month of Ramadan for 10 years, but what pushed me to join this year is my contact. with the reality of extreme poverty that people have experienced in recent months, especially after this shocking rise in prices. “
Rasha adds: “I am afraid that thousands of fasters in Damascus would have to eat bread at the breakfast tables, if these initiatives had not spread throughout Damascus, as living has become very difficult and hunger is no longer ruled out. These days. “
In addition to a kitchen that helped, there are many charitable initiatives that are active in various cities and neighborhoods of Damascus and its villages and seek to meet the needs of fasting people for water and food during the holy month.
Most Syrian families live in regime-controlled areas, the worst reality of living and serving since the outbreak of the revolution in the country 11 years ago and the conflicts that followed, and the poverty rate in the country since October 2021 has reached 90 %, while almost 60% of Syrians suffer from food insecurity according to the World Food Program statement.
Old Damascus neighborhoods receive the bulk of the support provided by charitable initiatives during the holy month. worship and events are held in the courtyard of the mosque during daylight hours; This makes it easier for volunteers to reach those in need.
The Saed Association and its “Saed Kitchen” initiative are one of the most active and contributing initiatives in providing food for the needy before fasting in many districts of the capital and its villages. Foods ranged from “Meatloaf”, “Chickenmeal” and “Mujadara”.
Meanwhile, the “Volunteer Life” project launched a series of charitable initiatives in Damascus for the holy month of Ramadan, the most prominent of which was the “Water and Dates” initiative, which aims to provide water and various types of dates and Ajwa tablets. students, employees and other fasting people who are late to their homes.Iftar in the main squares of Damascus.
Fares, 27, one of the coordinators of the initiative, told Al Jazeera Net, “Since the beginning of the blessed month, we have managed to distribute 5,000 bottles of mineral water, about 230 kilograms of Ajwa and about 3,000 cups (bags) of dates to the fasting people. who are delayed in their homes at the time of Iftar, and this thanks to God Almighty and then thanks to donors.
In the context of providing food meals, the “Badir Development” project is also active through a group of volunteer teams to revive the “Ramadan Spill” campaign for the tenth year. According to project manager Abdel Hafeez al-Qusti, the campaign offers about 3,340 meals a day in 32 areas in Damascus and its villages.
These initiatives come in the light of the passing of the month of Ramadan for Syrians in regime areas, amid a worsening of new living and service crises; Where the prices of consumer and food commodities in the markets of Damascus and its villages have witnessed an unprecedented increase which has passed 150% in some basic commodities since the first days of the holy month.
“Ramadan unites us” … Support for those who deserve it
To ensure that support reaches those who deserve it, some organizations and associations prefer to implement their initiatives and offer their help through the food basket distribution system, which depends on collecting data from families in need before distribution to compare them according to appropriateness.
This is the method that the Syria Brings Together Charitable Foundation has followed every year during the holy month for almost 10 years in its “Ramadan unites us” initiative. Dozens of volunteers at the Foundation work to coordinate and distribute food baskets. financial aid, clothing and medicine for the needy at their headquarters in Damascus province or on all field trips are carried out by various Syrian governments.
This year, the initiative sought to distribute 2,500 food baskets and 500 breakfasts, in addition to distributing 1,500 pieces of children’s clothing, according to Rami Al-Halabi, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Each food basket offered by the Foundation contains many food products such as vegetable oil, flour, rice, coarse bulgur, chickpeas, tea, sugar and other basic materials, the prices of which have increased significantly recently.
Khawla, 41, one of the beneficiaries of the initiative in the village of Damascus, told Al Jazeera Net, “The food basket came at the right time. Today, as you know, the price of a liter of oil on the market has reached 16,000 pounds (4 , $ 1) and a kilo of rice up to ,000 6,000 ($ 1.5). ” I barely earn 70,000 lira ($ 17) a month. “
In addition to the initiatives we mentioned, many initiatives and charitable activities are active in Damascus and its villages during the holy month, such as the “Good People” initiative and the “Ramadan Spills” initiative.