Ramadan is the perfect time to delve into Qatar’s rich culture, whether it’s by signing up for the Arabic classes you always said you would or visiting Fanar, Qatar Islamic Cultural Centre, to learn more about Ramadan, Islam and the history of the country. Ramadan is also a time of selflessness. There are lots of charitable initiatives to take part in, and it’s a great way to engage with one of the most important Islamic traditions, as well as to help the needy.
Clear up public spaces and make a day of it
Doha Environmental Actions Project (DEAP), a Qatar volunteer community with the common goal of cleanliness of the local environment, aims to raise public awareness about the environmental damage caused by littering. It cites new law number 18, 2017, on public hygiene, which prohibits littering in public spaces and applies stringent penalties for offenders. The organisation uses its Facebook page to set dates, places and meeting points to carpool. Bring water, comfortable shoes and hats, gardening or heavy-duty gloves and old grocery bags. If the clean-up is on the beach, you can get there, get the job done, and then swim, play sport, dance and make a day of it.
Follow the DEEP Facebook page for monthly clean-up events: www.facebook.com/deapqatar.
Donate to charity
There are many different charities to donate to in Qatar – organisations that tirelessly channel their efforts into helping the underprivileged not only in Doha, but around the world.
Qatar Charity is an NGO doing incredible work to fight global poverty. If you visit its website, you can donate to its many projects from helping Syrian refugees and orphaned children to its water provision projects in Gaza. Qatar Charity offers social care services in more than 48 countries, and has 122,369 sponsorships currently.
But it’s not just about donating money. There are many other ways to offer a helping hand. Hamad Hospital blood banks are always in need, and often holds blood donation drives. You can also donate your old clothes by depositing them in charity boxes that can be found across Doha, and you can buy food and medicine for sick and injured animals at shelters. You can even do something as simple as buying food for labourers who have left their homes and families to help build our country.
It doesn’t matter how much you have, all you really need is the will.
Donate your excess food
Eid Charity has numerous charity projects running at any one time. It is dedicated to providing humanitarian aid and offering a wide range of services to the poverty-stricken and those affected by war. It also provides assistance for the provisions of education, health, food and shelter. Eid Charity has a project called “Hafd Al Nemaa”, which translates to “saving food”. It aims to limit food wastage in Qatar by finding effective solutions to eradicate this bad habit. To get involved, all you need to do is call and let the team know what you’d like to donate. They’ll pick up your excess food, pack it and distribute it to those in need. It’s simple, and can have a great impact on the community.
Help clean up Doha’s beaches
Stop throwing your garbage on the beach and clean up behind you. That’s the message of The Doha Beach Clean project, which aims to raise awareness about litter on beaches in Qatar. Every month, the organisation visits different beaches with volunteers including Fuwairit, Simaisma and Al Wakrah, and sets out to pick up your litter and dispose it off safely. Anyone can get in touch to volunteer their help with clearing the sand of trash, ensuring a visit to the beach is a pleasant experience for everyone.
Help children with special needs
Non-profit organisation Hope Qatar provides help and opportunities to children with special needs. It primarily offers educational training, along with counselling sessions for parents, providing support and advice on how they can help their children. HOPE Qatar aims to create opportunities for children with special needs, preparing them for the school environment. You can volunteer with Friends of HOPE, a parallel forum that streamlines all volunteering activities for HOPE Qatar, and partake in all initiatives. It’s fairly simple to get involved – an online form needs to be filled in. You must be committed to the work, aged 15 or above, and pay the QR100 registration fee.
www.hope-qatar.org (5534 8611).
Re-use excess food
Wa’hab, a private, self-funded start-up, provides a network that helps with the donation of surplus but perfectly good food that is meant to be thrown away by hotels and other organisations in the food industry, to those in need.
Wa’hab’s is a social enterprise that aims to reduce, re-use and recycle surplus food in Qatar. “We have a collective responsibility towards the community, especially when it comes to such a basic need as food. The less privileged can benefit from this excess good food,” says Kim Wyatt, the company’s founding member.
Using technology and social media as their power tools, the team at Wa’hab have every intention to promote the highest use of excess food and reduce hunger and wastage. “Social media is a very constructive tool to reach out to the public and encourage discussions and interactions,” Wyatt says. “We are very active and constantly provide updates on progress and other tips and information.”
After collection, the food packages are delivered to partner charities, which make sure appropriate steps are taken to ensure food safety and repackaging if necessary. “Currently, there are a few food banks operated by various charities, however, in the long term, we want to establish our own food bank or logistical hub where anyone can drop off non-perishable items as well as fresh foods, fruits and vegetables,” Wyatt says.
To volunteer, email email@example.com. For more information visit www.wahab.qa; www.facebook.com/wahab.qa; Instagram and Twitter: @wahab_qa.
Learning Arabic has never been easier. For a small fee, roughly QR300 per month, you can take Arabic lessons at Fanar, Qatar Islamic Cultural Center (4444 7444). There are several other language institutes teaching Arabic in Doha, including Loghati Arabic Language Centre (4488 8846), Berlitz Language Centre (4455 0506) and HBKU’s Translation and Interpreting Institute (4454 2578).