Throughout the Arab region, individuals and foundations have been observing Ramadan both by fasting and increasing their charitable giving in the form of Zakat (Muslim almsgiving) and Sadaqah (voluntary contributions). However, the cost of living crisis – alongside the enduring health crisis – has slowed down this year’s giving.
In Qatar, the Qatar Charity has donated $55 million to support Qataris in debt. And the Qatar Red Crescent Society launched, with a $19.2 million pledge, a number of social and medical charitable activities both in and beyond Qatar under its programme, ‘Giving Sustains Good’, a Ramadan campaign.
In Saudi Arabia, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman donated $8 million and $5.3 million respectively to Ehsan, the National Platform for Charitable Work.
King Mohammed VI in Morocco has launched Ramadan 1443, a food distribution programme, with a $10.3 million pledge to benefit nearly three million people across the country.
In the UAE, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives has launched a one billion meals initiative to get food to children, refugees, displaced persons, and other vulnerable groups across 50 countries. According to the Khaleej Times, it is considered to be one of the largest food donation drives in the Arab region.
Economic crisis impacts giving
Though the month has seen much giving, Arab media has reported that charitable organisations are feeling the effects of the economic crisis across several countries during this Ramadan.
In Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, there has been a sharp decline in charitable giving this year – by as much as 50 per cent in Jordan, according to Sky News Arabia. The report cites soaring food and old prices, as well as the ensuing impact of Covid, as the reason for the huge gap that charities and Ramadan volunteers are grappling to address.