Each year HCI makes it a point to honor and celebrate the traditions of the communities we serve; understanding the culture and living conditions of the local communities we work with is part of HCI’s philosophy while serving these communities, especially at times such as Ramadan and Eid Al Adha when great importance is placed on celebrating the traditional aspects of local culture. In addition, these traditions serve to strengthen community ties and embody important ideals such as generosity and helping the needy.
As the month of Ramadan approaches, families all around the Arab world prepare themselves for a month of fasting, a month of spending more time together, and a month of helping the needy. For over twenty years HCI has honoured this tradition by working around the Arab world to make Ramadan a month of hope for the families that need hope the most; families struggling to survive, families affected by conflict, families headed by widows and families where the breadwinner is disabled or chronically ill.
This year, the condition of many in the Arab world has further deteriorated as a result of the overall regional unrest, instability and turmoil, making HCI’s Ramadan program even more relevant. Assisted by its regional network of local partners and volunteers, HCI distributed hundreds of much needed food packages and provided hundreds of freshly cooked highly nutritional traditional meals to help ease the economic burden off some of the most desperate households in the Arab world and to spread some good will and optimism as well.
The program was implemented Palestine, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan (with Iraqi refugees) where families of the poorest communities received food packages directly from HCI’s team or had them delivered to their doorstep in some cases. The food packages contained a wide variety of basic food items such as flour, rice, beans, oil, sugar and dried fruit among others. It is worth noting that this intervention is particularly relevant since the holy month of Ramadan is also a time when food prices skyrocket.
In Gaza, HCI’s volunteer team went door to door to the poorest districts and personally delivered food parcels while making note of each family’s problems for future interventions. In the West Bank HCI’s team distributed hundreds of food packages to low income families with persons having special needs in the Central District of the West Bank. Female-headed households and families where the breadwinner is disabled were selected as front-end beneficiaries.
In Sudan, HCI and its local partners organized several Iftars in many refugee settlements in the south, north and west of the capital. In addition to distributing hundreds of food packages as well. HCI’s team made it a point to be active in communities that contain refugees from Darfur.
In Egypt, HCI’s team, in coordination with local NGO’s “CDC” and “Gozour foundation” distributed 350 Ramadan food packages to the poorest households in the marginalized new desert settlements of Garf Hussein and Kalabsha in the Aswan Governorate west of Lake Nasser.
In the Jabal Al Qusour and the Al Jubiheh area, one of the poorest areas of Amman where Iraqi refugees live, HCI’s team distributed over hundreds of food packages to marginalized and mostly widow headed Iraqi refugee families assisted by Family Development Association, a women-headed grassroots organization. HCI’s long term local partner, New Development assisted in the screening and selection of final beneficiaries, as well as in the procurement of food items in close consultation with HCI’s team.
In Lebanon, HCI distributed food packets to underprivileged widow headed families in the northern city of Tripoli, in addition to organizing an Iftar in partnership with the Charitable Islamic Women’s Society for 120 orphans and their families, this group included the beneficiaries of HCI’s orphan sponsorship program in Lebanon. In the Shatila Refugee Camp in Beirut, HCI together with local NGO “CYC” organized a traditional iftar for over 100 children.
Another tradition that HCI honors is the Eid Al-Adha or the “Feast of Sacrifice” celebration, where meat is distributed to the needy and poor. It is a rewarding spiritual act for Muslims. Every year, Human Concern International (HCI) carries out the Adahi Meat Distribution Project among the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in Middle East region.
In 2011, similar to the distributions during the Holy month of Ramadan, families of the poorest communities in Gaza, the West Bank, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan received meat packages directly from HCI’s team, or through the help of our local partners.
The goal of the Adahi Meat Distribution project is to enable poor and vulnerable families to cover their basic need for animal protein; inflation of the prices of meat usually occurs during this season, which reduces the purchasing capacity of many families, especially poor ones. Many families also cannot sacrifice their own livestock because they need their animals for the production of milk, cheese and other dairy products, and to work in the fields.
The project has three main objectives: relieving poor families who cannot afford the high price of meat during this season; forming links with local communities to address the needs of poor and vulnerable families, and complementing HCI’s overall relief and development initiatives in the region. HCI’s selection criteria directed distributions to low-income, large, and single-parent families, particularly if the single parent was a woman or person with special needs.
In Gaza, HCI’s team made up of tens of volunteers went door to door and personally delivered the parcels containing meat portions. They listened to and made note of each family’s problems so that this information could be used for the next needs assessment and distribution project. Hundreds of families benefited from the distributed portions. The distribution was implemented in Sheikh Rdwan in Gaza city, Ezbat Abdrabo in Jebalia, Al Zaytoon neighberhoods, and Shajaeya in Al Shatae refugee Camp.
Neighborhood committees and the local volunteers helped in the distributions. The Shahada family, one of the families benefiting from the Adahi packages told the volunteers that they literally hadn’t tasted meat in months, as did another family from Ezbit Abd Rabo, who were extremely thankful for the meat they received, without which their Eid would have been miserable.
In the West Bank, HCI’s team organized the distribution of hundreds of meat packages to low-income families with special needs persons in the Central District of the West Bank.
Female-headed households, and families where the breadwinner is disabled, were selected as front-end beneficiaries. Local women’s groups and village councils assisted in the identification of beneficiaries. HCI’s local partner, the Vocational Training Workshops for Girls NGO in Palestine contributed additional parcels that were distributed to additional families. The slaughtering took place at the premises of the NGO, as did the distributions. Families arrived early morning of the first day of the Eid to get their Adahi. The project provided direct support to the families surrounded by the West Bank Wall or by Israeli settlements. Local newspapers reported on the distributions. One of the families benefiting from the Adahi packages told the volunteers that they literally hadn’t tasted meat in months, as did another family, who were extremely thankful for the meat they received, without which their Eid would have been miserable.
In Sudan, HCI along with local partners, organized and implemented this year’s Adahi Distributions in many refugee settlements in the south, north and west of the capital. The Adahi Project targeted all those who reside in these communities, focusing on single mothers and orphans. Targeted beneficiaries where identified in association with local partners. The slaughtering and distributions were done according to the Islamic traditions. Every family received one package. The project targeted the poorest families, especially widows, orphans and families with no income. HCI’s team made a point to be active in communities that contain refugees from the Darfur region and from southern Sudan.
In Egypt, HCI’s team distributed meat packages to the poorest households in the marginalized new desert settlements of Kalabsha El-Jedida, Bashayer el-Kheir, New Tomas and ‘Afia village located west of Lake Nasser.
In order to guarantee a proper exposure to the HCI, banners, stickers and bags with the HCI logo were printed to be used on the day of distribution, so that people from the villages would recognize that the event was an HCI initiative. HCI’s local partner, the Center for Development Services, contributed additional parcels bearing the logos of HCI and its partners that were distributed to additional families.
In Lebanon, the distributions were conducted at the premises of HCI’s partner in Tripoli, the CIWS where hundreds of beneficiaries, mainly single mother headed households, received meat packages. HCI’s team supervised and monitored the entire process from the procurement of the supplies to the packing, as well as the organization of distributions and the selection criteria for beneficiaries in order to ensure the highest and best efficiency. Beneficiaries have commented positively on the distributions, and have sent greetings and best wishes to HCI, and to the people who made their Eid possible.
The Adahi project is designed to deliver immediate relief to the poorest families in the communities we work in. It is important to continue implementing this seasonal project every year, as poor families can’t afford meat portions in their diet due to its high costs. The Adahi project promotes sharing and caring values especially in times of need, as well as in times of feasts. The project promotes the good will of HCI and our commitment to working and alleviating poverty in the Arab region. It enhances HCI’s relations with local partners who implement these projects, and the communities in which we work with.
The Adahi project as an immediate relief project supports other development projects that HCI is implementing in the region by exhibiting HCI commitment to poor communities need. It demonstrates the quick response and delivery of the HCI’s projects while working towards longer and sustainable outcomes through our other specialized projects.
HCI’s seasonal projects for 2011 are not over yet; in December HCI will continue its commitment to celebrate the traditions of the communities we serve by organizing Christmas activities for marginalized children, children at risk and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.