Charity is a cornerstone of Islam. Along with spiritual kindness and compassion toward humanity, charity is a way of bringing forth justice to society. During Ramadan, charity takes on significant importance in the lives of Egyptians.
There are two main forms of charity practiced during the holy month — obligatory and voluntary, called zakah al-fitr and sadaqah respectively. Zakah al-fitr is the practice of giving to the poor at the end of the Ramadan fasting cycle. This tradition ensures that those who are less fortunate will be able to celebrate the festival of breaking the fast and thus help redistribute the wealth in society.
In the case of sadaqah, each individual is obligated to calculate how much charity is due, after which one is expected to go into the community to aide those who deserve it. These charitable practices help to unify the community by encouraging interactions between those fortunate and those who are impoverished.
In the most recent studies conducted by the World Bank, 22 percent of all Egyptians live under or just above the poverty line, which is set at US$2 a day.
Rather than continuing to wait for the government to eradicate poverty in Egypt, citizens take individual action to propel positive, communal change. And Ramadan is the perfect springboard for such a cause.
This year for Ramadan, Egypt Independent has created a list of charitable platforms or organizations to donate to during the holy month.
Dar al-Orman Charity
Dar al-Orman is a registered Egyptian NGO that sponsors and raises funds for various community-based projects. The organization was established in 1993 and currently runs six orphanages, which helps place children in the homes of welcoming parents.
The Egyptian Food Bank
The Egyptian Food Bank is an initiative specializing in fighting hunger through diversity and innovation by developing effective and sustainable programs addressing hunger problems.
Coptic Orphans is an award-winning international Christian development organization that unlocks the potential of disadvantaged Muslim and Copt children in Egypt by empowering them to overcome the cycle of poverty and change in their communities. The Valuable Girls Project is an educational mentoring program empowering 1,000 “at-risk” Egyptian girls through mentorships, leadership building and other initiatives.
Stabl Antar Dream
Founded in 1999, Stabl Antar Dream is an Egyptian organization that focuses on creating sustainable development with an emphasis on three areas: environmental, economic and sociopolitical development in impoverished areas of Egypt.
Right to Live Association for the Intellectually Disabled
Established in 1981 by a group of parents, this association is the first organization in Egypt to provide care and training to people with intellectual disabilities. The association seeks to ensure that those with intellectual disabilities and their families have the support needed to live decent, ordinary lives.
This piece was originally published in Egypt Independent’s weekly print edition.