'I find peace in offering Iftar to my brothers'

I find peace in offering Iftar to my brothers
Brothers Asad and Abid Ali serve food at Iftar time at a labour accommodation in Sonapur in Dubai on Sunday.

Memon organisation offers free Iftars daily to 1,000 labourers


Angel Tesorero

Published: Tue 20 Jun 2017, 11:28 PM

Last updated: Wed 21 Jun 2017, 5:11 PM

During Ramadan, work is quite hectic but more satisfying for Pakistani brothers Asad and Abid Ali. After waking up early to go to the mosque for the Fajr or dawn prayers, the brothers will return home for a couple more hours of rest before heading down to work at 7am. The duo work for a contractor in-charge of preparing and helping serve Iftar meals to companies. 
Asad and Abid are both fasting and when asked about how they manage to help in cooking and serving Iftar meals while fasting, they reply unanimously that there's nothing to complain about the long work hours; what has to be done, has to be done, they told Khaleej Times. 
They are two of the numerous staff providing valuable support for World Memon Organisation's daily free Iftars at three labour accommodation sites in Dubai and Ajman (Sonapur, Dubai Industrial Park and Ajman Industrial Area)
Everyday, at each site, more than 1,000 workers - both Muslims and non-Muslims - are provided with warm Iftar meals. The initiative, now on its third year, is supported by PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and North Africa and the WMO are well on their way to reach their target of providing 100,000 Iftar meals this Ramadan.
Asad, 21, who hails from Lala Musa, a town in the Gujrat district of Punjab and who has been in Dubai for less than a year, tells Khaleej Times: "Although, sometimes, it's quite tiring because we have been doing this work for three weeks non-stop. But I find satisfaction every time I lay down a big platter of food in front of my 'brothers' who are fasting."
Abid adds: "We are also fasting and sometimes the smell of food right under our nose is very tempting. But we have to keep up with our mental and spiritual discipline."
'Truly, this is service to the community with selfless commitment and dedication," adds Mahmood Shaikhani, deputy secretary-general of the World Memon Organisation (WMO). "This is the motto of WMO and it is best served in the holy month of Ramadan and in the UAE's Year of Giving. We are giving back to our society and we thank our members and sponsors, particularly PepsiCo Asia MENA, for their valuable support to our Ramadan project."
A big air-conditioned tent is pitched at each of the labour accommodations. Around 12 huge cauldrons are brought at each site and each cauldron (of biryani - chicken or mutton/ beef on alternate days) can feed at least 100 persons.
According to Asad, cooking is done in a huge kitchen in Ajman. After that the food, fruits and beverages are transported to each site before 4pm and everything was set up before 7pm.
For each venue at least 300 kgs of rice and 200kg of chicken, mutton or beef for biryani is prepared every day. They also slice several kilos of fresh fruits, prepare harees, and bring boxes of bottled water.
At 6pm, hordes of workers start coming inside the Ramadan tent. While waiting for azaan, some of them talk about how their day passed; some sharing stories about their families back home and others utter prayers for themselves and their loved ones.
- angel@khaleejtimes.com

More news from