Ramadan in Yemen: Humanitarian initiatives to support poor people in Sanaa
Loaf of Bread Initiative was launched in Yemen under the slogan of the Quranic verse "giving food in a day of hunger,” targeting 160,000 families per day.
Kneeling at a gate of a shop used for distributing food packages for families of martyrs, Saleh Al-Zoudi, leader of Al-Dhari neighborhood of Sawan in Sanaa city, started on April 12 to distribute plastic bags of bread for poor people just an hour before Iftar at 6:26 pm.
“Ramadan is Mubarak [blessed]; with every day, there is food, thanks to Allah”, Saleh Al-Ahdel told Al Mayadeen English after he received his plastic bag of 10 loaves of bread.
“This is a great initiative from Al-Zakat Authority," Al-Ahdel explained. “The initiative is a simple message for each citizen to pay the Zakat to this Authority that is supporting citizens in pain."
Fathers and children receive plastic bags of bread depending on the number of each member of a family.
Several humanitarian groups in the capital Sanaa launched a new initiative, on the first day of fasting, to support poor families during Ramadan.
The General Al-Zakat Authority, in partnership with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Capital Municipality, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the private sector, launched last Wednesday, a humanitarian campaign titled "The Loaf of Bread Initiative".
The initiative, led under the slogan of the Quranic verse "giving food in a day of hunger," targets 160,000 families per day in the capital city and the governorates during Ramadan.
UNICEF said in March 2022 that this holy month of Ramadan "will be particularly difficult this year for families in Yemen which is in the throes of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world."
“Seven years of war, widespread economic collapse, and the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed the country to the brink, leaving 70% of the population — including over 11 million children — in need of humanitarian help," UNICEF said in a report.
It added, “nearly 400,000 children under 5 in Yemen suffer from severe acute malnutrition, which can be fatal if left untreated; another 2.3 million are acutely malnourished."
A two-month humanitarian and military truce between warring parties in Yemen went into force on April 2. The truce stipulates that Al-Hudaydah port should open for fuel ships, whereas Sanaa airport should open for limited commercial flights.
The US-backed Saudi aggression started in March 2015. The United Nations estimated in 2021 that 377,000 people had been killed directly and indirectly because of this aggression.
'Glimmer Of Hope'
A woman received one plastic bag of bread from the leader of Al-Dhari neighborhood and sent prayers to those who launched this initiative amid severe shortages of cooking gas and soaring prices.
“Now, I have bread without wasting time baking, and I’m able to save more cooking gas”, the woman told Al Mayadeen English, declining to give her name.
“This initiative gives us a glimmer of hope that amid war and soaring fuel prices, there are authorities that care about us," the woman added.
The head of Al-Zakat General Authority, Sheikh Shamsan Abu Nashtan, pointed out that the “Loaf of Bread Initiative" targets 160,000 families in the capital and the governorates under the slogan “giving food in a day of hunger” program in order to alleviate the sufferings and to maintain human dignity for the benefit of the destitute families.
Abu Nashtan called on donors to contribute to this initiative to ease people’s suffering, especially during the month of Ramadan in which God multiplies good deeds.
On Saturday, another community initiative of Iftar tables was launched in 200 neighborhoods in Sanaa - starting in Maeen District - that will continue throughout Ramadan.
The director of Maeen district, Abdul-Malik Al-Radhi, told the official state news agency, Saba, that the importance of this initiative reflects “the social solidarity of the Yemeni people," praising some notable families for their charitable work.
Al-Radhi stressed that this community initiative consolidates the bonds of brotherhood and compassion among the members of the community, pointing out that the Iftar tables target the people in need in his district.
Mohammed Ahmed Al-Jaradi, owner of a very large automatic bakery at Al-Nasr Street, northern US Embassy in Sanaa, said this initiative launched by Al-Zakat Authority is to support poor people.
“We feed 26k families per day. We give loaves of bread to all the neighborhoods’ leaders who distribute the bread to poor families”, Al-Jaradi told Al Mayadeen English while standing at the gate of his bakery.
“This is a kind of compassion and empathy between Yemenis in the month of mercy, Ramadan.”
Al-Jaradi bakery is one of 100 bakeries in the capital city that Abu Nashtan, the director of Al-Zakat Authority, said are used to produce one million loaves per day and distribute them to poor and vulnerable families.
Al-Jaradi pointed out that this initiative has a good impact on poor people because it makes them feel rich people do support poor people in times of war.
“I am very delighted by this initiative. We feel the Government cares about poor people who have been suffering for seven years of war," said Al-Jaradi.