Islamic NGOs help the poor during Ramadan


Humanitarian organisations seek assistance from businesses to reach the disadvantaged.

By Miki Trajkovski for Southeast European Times in Struga -- 15/07/14


An Iftar meal is organised and attended by Muslims in Struga. [Miki Trajkovski/SETimes]

Islamic non-governmental organisations in the Balkans are donating food and necessities during the holy month of Ramadan while encouraging business owners to donate funds to help the poor.

The Islamic humanitarian organisation Merhamet opened bank accounts to encourage businesspeople to donate and especially to help people in need of medical treatments abroad.

"There are people who bring in 50, 100 or 500 euros that we later put in bank accounts and use the money when needed. This makes us happy because it shows that the people from the Balkans do want to help," Dzabir Hadzikazim, vice president of Merhamet, told SETimes.

Businesses also assist Islamic NGOs to prepare free meals for the poor in cities with significant Muslim populations throughout the Balkans.

"This is the first year we are organising an Iftar meal, and 860 people were present," Adrijan Osmanoski, a businessman from Struga, told SETimes.

Osmanoski said the care extends to every mosque where specially-appointed people assist families in need while businessmen help by offering donations and stipends for students.

Thanks to such donors, Kosovo's Bereqeti humanitarian association covering Kosovo has managed to distribute humanitarian aid to thousands of families, said Fitim Flugaj, chairman of Bereqeti.

"[Moreover] we have 2,000 additional humanitarian packages at our disposal that will be distributed in the following days," Flugaj told SETimes.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the Sarajevo foundation Source of Hope similarly collected donations from companies and individual businesspeople to help organise a traditional iftar meal for those affected by the catastrophic floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

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Officials said the donations have been directed specifically to assist those disproportionally affected.

"[W]e have prepared food packages for poor families, but especially for the Roma-Egyptian community on the outskirts of Tirana. [T]he alleviation of poverty, which is a wound with major social consequences for Albania, is a priority for the Albanian Muslim Community as well," Edvin Kuci, social issues director at the Albanian Islamic Community in Tirana, told SETimes.

Correspondent Linda Karadaku in Pristina contributed to this report.

What can Balkan NGOs do to engage businesses to assist the poor during Ramadan? Share your opinion in the comments space.

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