A Turkish charity agency is targeting to reach more than two million needy people in 35 countries around the globe as part of its activities during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Durmus Aydin, secretary-general of the Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), said the main focus of delivering aid will, however, remain on Turkey as last year.
"If our country is strong, the oppressed and needy people will also be strong," he said, informing that in association with other aid organizations they are planning to distribute 150,000 food packages across Turkey.
He said the charity is reaching out mostly to the families of unemployed, needy, and orphans in this period and also provides sahur -- pre-dawn meal -- to homeless, law enforcement officers serving on the streets, health personnel working in the emergency departments, and patients across the country during Ramadan.
With the slogan Ramazan Brings Hope coined for this year, besides providing relief in 81 Turkish provinces, the charity is targeting to distribute 10,000 food parcels in 34 countries amid the pandemic by the end of Ramadan.
The charity will also distribute new clothes and pocket money to 100,000 orphans, he said.
"Thanks to the fertility of Ramadan, our people become more charitable in this process. People strive to deliver their zakat donations (obligatory almsgiving in Islam), fitrah (charity before the end of Ramadan) and fidya (a donation to the poor when a fast is missed) to people in need," he said.
In 2020, with its slogan, All Together Ramadan, the foundation delivered food and hygiene packages to over 131,000 people in need and provided financial support of 10 million Turkish liras ($1.2 million) for families in need throughout the country.
Measures against COVID-19 amid Ramadan
Aydin said that due to pandemic many people experience problems in business.
"We have taken all necessary measures against coronavirus for our works in the field and our headquarters," he said.
As part of health measures, instead of mass gathering for iftar meals, everyone is provided meal at their places, he said, adding that donation of 20 Turkish liras ($2.4) will provide a single person's iftar, or fast-breaking meal abroad.
Iftar meals are also being prepared in various regions and camps in Syria, he said.
IHH has been carrying out aid projects in war-torn Syria since the country’s devastating conflict began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria, Turkey has taken more than 3.6 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.
Noting that the world is going through a very difficult time, Aydin called on people in Turkey to express solidarity during this Ramadan.
Highlighting the significance of solidarity to reach out to people in need, he said everyone should detect the people in need around -- starting from their relatives and their surroundings -- and be instrumental in delivering help to them.
He emphasized that IHH will do its best to reach people in need and continue to primarily deliver Ramadan food packages to orphans and unemployed families.
Aydin also reiterated his call for all philanthropists to show sensitivity and support to the needy in this process.
Over the past two years, the pandemic turned everything upside down, he said.
He said the charity group has already experienced the pandemic-related challenges last year, which is ongoing up to date.
"We had philanthropists who regularly donated to us. During the pandemic, some of them asked for help from us because their businesses were affected by the lockdown. It is not easy to predict exactly on whom, when, and how this process will affect," he said.
Providing clothing to orphan
"I hope we will overcome this process together by showing solidarity. We must help our immediate surroundings, family, relatives, neighbors, and people in need in this process. We need to be more sensitive than ever."
Continuing its tradition, Aydin said 100,000 orphans and children from poor families in 27 countries will get new clothes to let them celebrate the Eid festival.
He urged philanthropists to contribute 150 Turkish liras ($18) to dress a child from top to toe during Eid.
He asked donors to donate via IHH's bank accounts, website and by applying to the nearest IHH center. Founded in 1995, IHH establishes a bridge of goodwill stretching from Turkey to at least 123 countries across five continents.