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Eid campaign puts smiles on orphans’ faces

Philanthropist leads nationwide drive to help destitute families

  • Captions: the campaign poster + Campaign to put smiles on children's faces Image Credit: Fatima Alali
  • Captions: the campaign poster + Campaign to put smiles on children’s faces Image Credit: Fatima Alali
Gulf News

Manama: For Kuwaiti philanthropist Fatima Hussain Alali, there is no time for self-complacency. “I fully appreciate your generous contributions that have enabled 100 orphans and needy children to receive clothes for Eid,” she tweeted to her followers. “Yet, I swear to God, there are many other families waiting for your generosity, so do not hesitate,” she said.

The campaign she had launched to help orphans and the children of needy and destitute Bidoon (stateless) enjoy Eid Al Fitr, the feast marking the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, has been moving ahead thanks to the generosity of people touched by her vigorous humanitarian drive.

It follows a campaign she had launched to help Bidoon families deal with the extra financial pressure associated with Ramadan when expenses on food consumption rocket.

Fatima has often been praised for her charitable drive at a time when many preferred to shut their eyes and pretend there were no problems for anyone during Ramadan or for children celebrating Eid.

For her, it all amounted to having deep faith in the compassionate character of Kuwaiti nationals and in people living in the northern Arabian Gulf state.

“There are so many charitable souls in Kuwait, but locked doors need keys. I do have hope, especially that the beneficiaries are orphans,” she posted on her Twitter account where she has slightly more than 8,500 followers. Her motto is “I have a dream.”

The clothes-for-Eid campaign coincided with the second half of Ramadan, the most sacred month for Muslims during which they abstain from food, drink from sunrise until sunset, and engage in acts of devotion, supplication and charitable work more frequently.

However, the challenges have been at times formidable and Fatima needed greater commitment from people to offer assistance, particularly those who were keener on publicity stunts or self-serving interests than in philanthropic work.

“There are hypocrites who publicly pledge to assist, but in fact do nothing,” she said.

The Eid clothes for orphans drive coincided for some time with the campaign by candidates vying for seats in the country’s parliament on the July 27 elections. It was an occasion for Fatima to witness how some people wanted to lace charity with self-serving political interests.

“For instance, a lawmaker asked me to provide him with the phone numbers of needy families,” she said, referring to an illegal practice used by some candidates to contact voters and offer them money for their support. “However, I told him that we did not give families money and that I was the one who distributed the items and the food. He simply refused to assist.”

In another case, a potential lawmaker offered her a large sum of money if she accepted, alongside the supporters of the campaign, to stand by him.

“However, when I told him about contributing money to the campaign to raise funds for the Eid clothes for the orphans, he said that he could not help due to the heavy financial pressure.”

For Fatima, lawmakers should be the ones to stand alongside the poor and the needy to be able to appreciate the significance of the work that needs to be done.

“I insist on lawmakers because those who wish to help the poor and witness their needs firsthand will certainly work for better living conditions for Kuwait and Kuwaitis,” she said.

Throughout her campaigns, she adopted a direct approach with the people, highlighting people’s needs and requirements to meet them. She did not hesitate to press people to come forward.

“I will be in the Mubarikiya area as part of the Eid clothes campaign. Whoever wants to assist financially should not hesitate, as donations are works of charity that God rewards,” she posted.

Eid is expected to fall on Thursday or Friday, depending on the sighting of the moon that marks the end of Ramadan and the start of Shawal.