A couple of community charity initiatives are being expanded this month in time for Ramadan and the hot summer season so we find out how you can get involved
At this time of year it’s usual to see more and more charity initiatives popping up in aid of the needy in Bahrain, as the holy month encourages a spirit of generosity. Zakat is the practice of charitable giving by Muslims based on accumulated wealth and while it’s important as one of the five pillars of Islam at any time of the year, it tends to be more prevalent during Ramadan. This year, in Bahrain, two interesting initiatives that you can get involved in are reaching out to people in need, so we went to find out more.
Helping Hands Over 15 years ago a charity initiative called Helping Hands was set up and today, it is an informal group of dedicated volunteers who work towards making thousands of labourer’s lives in Bahrain that bit easier. They do this by acting as the middle man between donors and workers, not by accepting money but identifying needs and then requesting specific items. The volunteers, often accompanied by sponsors, then visit labour camps to distribute donated clothes and household utensils, as well as give out cold drinks in the summer months and warm clothing in winter. Another of their ongoing projects has been to replace kerosene stoves with gas cookers in labour camp kitchens as they’re safer and quicker to use.
Helping Hands are always looking for individuals or corporate to sponsor or donate refrigerators, air conditioners, mattresses, pillows and blankets, alongside other items like clothes and even basic groceries, particularly during summer as it’s the busiest time of the year for them. To find out more or to become a sponsor, call Surekha Goswami (3940 0917) or Gigy George (3959 9891).
Make a Difference Now entering its eight year, ‘Make a Difference’ is Majid Al Futtaim’s dedicated Ramadan charity campaign that rolls out across 13 malls in the region including Bahrain City Centre, which has been hosting the campaign annually for the past five years. ‘Make a Difference’ encourages the community to donate everyday essentials that will ultimately be used to support underprivileged families. Throughout the holy month, you’ll find special collection boxes next to the customer service desk on the ground floor of the mall, encouraging shoppers to donate any of four items: clothing, books, reading glasses and mobile phones, as well as others such as non-perishable foods, electronics and children’s toys, to name a few.
Last year, the mall collected over 7,700 bags of goods that were donated to Al Noor Charity Welfare. It was not confirmed at the time of going to press which charity they’ll partner with this year but let’s still all aim to beat last year’s record and make a difference. Call customer service at City Centre Bahrain, Seef District (1717 7771).
Some year-round charities in Bahrain
BSPCA This stalwart animal welfare charity has been doing great work against animal cruelty in Bahrain since 1979. They depend on public donations and money generated by their thrift shop. To help out, you can donate money or become a sponsor or a member (BD10 a year and BD5 for renewal thereafter). Or you can fully dedicate yourself and offer to volunteer. They look for people with a range of skills and experience in areas such as law, copywriting, teaching, Arabic language, digital, fundraising and even craftwork! Call 1759 3479 or email email@example.com.
Tony the Dogfather Tony Waters aka ‘The Dogfather’ has been rescuing and rehabilitating animals in Bahrain for the past 15 years. He has his own rescue centre, Second Chance Charity shop and hosts regular fundraising events. To help out, you can become a sponsor, donate money or even adopt one of his cute little furry friends. Call 3962 9889 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think Pink Bahrain Founded in 2004 by Bahrain resident Ms Julie Sprakel, Think Pink Bahrain is a non-profit organisation that promotes breast cancer awareness and raises money for the cause. The money raised goes to the National Campaign for the Early Detection of Breast Disease which screens Bahraini women over the age of 40. To get involved or to donate call 3907 6717 or email email@example.com.
Bahrain Red Crescent Society This society works for humanitarian causes across the world in line with Red Cross principles. In Bahrain, it was first set up in 1970 and has since offered a helping hand to causes on the island such as social services, health awareness, youth, blood banks, first aid and also foreign aid. To get involved, you can choose to donate money, become a corporate sponsor or a member, or start to volunteer as they’re constantly looking for people with different skill levels, talents and backgrounds. Call 1729 3100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palm Association The Palm Association is the brainchild of two long-term residents in Bahrain who wanted to give back to the community they have made their home. It’s a not-for-profit organisation run by women who provide help to Bahraini women and their children through distribution of food parcels, educational sponsorship and home improvements. Donations are always welcomed by the association, which can be made on their website, and they often host fundraising events and auctions that the public can attend. Call 3996 7896 or email email@example.com.
Migrant Workers Protection Society Troubled expatriate workers have had help in Bahrain since 2005 when this non-profit charity was established under a licence from the Ministry of Social Development. MWPS members help educate and guide expat workers to understand their rights and responsibilities, garner public awareness about the exploitation of workers and act as a mediator between them and the government authorities. They also provide accommodation for women in a shelter, arrange medical treatments, visa fees and airline tickets for repatriation among other things. You can get involved by donating money or becoming a member (BD10 a year). Call 1782 7895 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.