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Turkish charity gets aid to 75 nations in Muslim holy month

With donations, Turkiye Diyanet Foundation maintains 'spiritual climate' of Ramadan in Turkey, abroad

Jeyhun Aliyev,Faruk Zorlu   | 11.05.2021
Turkish charity gets aid to 75 nations in Muslim holy month

ANKARA

In an endeavor to maintain the "spiritual climate" of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Turkey's Diyanet Foundation (TDV) has distributed aid in 75 other countries and 208 regions across the world, as well as in every district in the nation's own 81 provinces.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ihsan Acik, the second chairman of the board of trustees of the TDV, said the charity group aims to "shoulder the burden of humanity's conscience."

By the end of the Muslim fasting month, the TDV, affiliated with Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, plans to have distributed 77,010 unique aid cards for supermarket shopping worth 100 Turkish liras ($12.10) each and 1,100 food parcels worth 200 Turkish liras ($24.20) each to the needy in Turkey, Acik said.

He underlined that the foundation also aims to provide children in need and orphans in the country with a total of 7,400 sets of new clothes, each worth 150 Turkish liras ($18.1), for the coming Eid festivities marking the end of Ramadan.

Outside Turkey, the Turkiye Diyanet Foundation will distribute 99,810 food parcels, 58,350 iftar meal packages and 11,750 clothes sets for Eid in 14 other countries, he said, adding: "We will delight our children who have probably never received new holiday clothes in their lives."

"We will embrace and build bridges of love with our brothers and sisters whose prayers and hope are for Turkey," Acik said.

With the support of 31 million Turkish liras ($3.75 million) in donations gathered from across Turkey, the TDV will deliver aid to approximately 1 million "oppressed and victims" in-country and abroad, with a total budget of 61 million Turkish liras ($3.37 million), he stressed.


Ramadan during pandemic

Noting how the TDV used to provide collective iftar programs to those in need in Ramadan before the novel coronavirus outbreak, Acik said the foundation was "experiencing the sadness" of not being able to "share the same table with Muslim brothers and sisters" over the past two years.

"In this period, we miss the iftar gatherings that we organized in a warm and sincere atmosphere."

Lamenting that the charity had not been able to arrange iftar meals this year either, Acik said the TDV made an effort not to abandon the needy "in these difficult days" as their personnel and volunteers strived to provide "a bowl of a hot meal" to the homes of those in need.

"In this context, we prepared iftar meals for thousands of families in need in Turkey and abroad. Even though we cannot be together at the iftar tables, we take our iftar meals to their doorstep with our staff and volunteers and receive their prayers," he said.


New challenges with COVID-19

Acik said that due to the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown measures, the number of people who could not go to work or lost their jobs had increased. Thus, applications to the TDV for aid have also climbed "seriously."

"Besides these, especially elderly people and patients over the age of 65 couldn't leave their homes and we tried to extend a helping hand to them as well," he added.

"With our volunteers, we go door to door and try to meet whatever needs we can."

He underlined that while providing these services, TDV volunteers sought to meet the needs of these people in need and struggle regardless of the hour to make the month of Ramadan "more peaceful" for them.

Acik highlighted that requests for provisions and food aid had gone up during the pandemic, adding that the TDV delivered many food parcels to needy families. He also thanked donors for their support.

Once the foundation confirms the needs of applicants, it does its best to fulfill these needs, including in the cash form, Acik explained.


Sensitivities surge

Acik emphasized that many families who lost their livelihoods or income due to the lockdown and pandemic this year had applied for aid and assistance to the TDV.

On the other hand, he said, there was also an "obvious increase" in donations in 2021 compared to last year.

"Although our people have their own problems, they don't forget the needy at home [in Turkey] and abroad. They're even more sensitive now," he said.

Individual donors can support the foundation via its website at www.tdv.org and bagis.tdv.org, as well as through local and district mufti's offices, TDV branches, and Turkey's postal service, the PTT.

Established in 1975, the TDV is a voluntary organization that works in a wide range of fields spanning education, culture, social and religious services to international aid activities with its 1,003 branches in nearly 150 different countries.

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