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CASABLANCA: Ramadan in Morocco is traditionally a time of increased acts of help and kindness towards the needy.
The distribution of food baskets, clothes, money, meals, and the organization of collective iftars normally abound.
And while many initiatives are already underway in the country, charities have seen a drop in public donations this year.
Calls on social networks are fewer than usual and associations are seeing a drop in collections.
Charity activist Ahmed Ghayet told Arab News En Francais: “We have seen a significant drop in donation collection. Moroccans have been generous this year again, but less than before.
“The COVID-19 crisis, its economic repercussions and the high cost of living have had an impact on the charitable actions initiated during Ramadan. In addition, we have many more requests from people who live in precarious conditions and who have lost their jobs. »
Ghayet’s association, Marocains Pluriels, launched a special Ramadan operation to distribute food baskets in the cities of Casablanca, Oujda, Rabat, Mohammedia, Fez, Marrakech, Essaouira and Agadir.
Twelve other charity groups have joined the project, now in its third edition, which distributes packages containing items such as flour, oil, sugar, lentils, chickpeas, dates and milk.
“We favor donations in kind, in basic foodstuffs. But donors can also contribute up to 200 Moroccan dirhams ($20.30), which is the price of a basket. Food is left outside the recipient’s door to preserve their dignity, as most recipients do not ask for it. You know, Moroccans are dignified and many refuse to ask for charity,” Ghayet said.
He noted that this year there has been increased generosity from Jewish Moroccans.
“I don’t have a precise explanation, but I feel a closeness that has grown and a mutual trust that has been consolidated in recent months. I get as many calls from Jews as from Muslims. It’s like breaking down barriers.
“Overall, Moroccans, whatever their faith, help each other and support the most vulnerable, especially in this period when precariousness is increasingly felt,” he added.
And the Ramadan spirit of mutual aid is carried by the highest authority in the North African country. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI recently launched the Ramadan 1443 initiative in Rabat’s old medina, a national program run since 1998 by the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity.
With a budget of 103 million dirhams, Ramadan 1443 will this year consist of distributing food parcels to around 3 million people (around 600,000 households) living in 83 provinces and prefectures of the country, 77% of them in rural areas.
Since its launch, the national food support operation has spent more than 1.5 billion dirhams to help families.
Support has also come from other countries, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar among nations offering financial and food support to thousands of Moroccans and charities.
Despite the drop in charitable donations this year, Ramadan has again seen solidarity, sharing and mutual aid among Moroccans in these difficult times.