Sunday,19 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1350, (22 June - 5 July 2017)
Sunday,19 May, 2019
Issue 1350, (22 June - 5 July 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Ramadan in tents

Amira Elhamy joins the crowds enjoying Iftar meals in the network of Ramadan tents set up by Egyptian NGO Masr Al-Kheir

Ramadan in tents

This Ramadan and for the fourth year running the NGO Masr Al-Kheir is providing free Iftar meals for some five million people in Ramadan tents set up across the country. Each tent can serve up to 400 people and is a new take on the traditional Mawaed Al-Rahman, the tables that are set up to offer Iftar meals to people during the holy month of Ramadan.  

Hanan Al-Derbashi, responsible for Ramadan campaigns and other projects at Masr Al-Kheir, said that there were 41 Ramadan tents this year distributed across 24 governorates. “This year, we have organised an extra tent in Assiut next to the Upper Egypt Cancer Hospital, the idea being that the guests could be largely patients and their families,” she said.

Ramadan in tents

“Each tent hosts 250 guests, with another 150 being served as overflow, making up some 400 in total. By the third day of Ramadan the number of guests has usually increased, so we have been examining increasing the capacity of the tents in order to host more guests.

The tents are organised with the help of NGOs in each governorate that help us in receiving and distributing the meals,” she added.

Ordinarily the tents are set up near the restaurants that supply them, and their locations are selected according to their proximity to such suppliers in order to guarantee that the food presented is fresh and hot.

“The advantage the Masr Al-Kheir tents have is their five-star service. We are keen to deliver the best service to all our guests, starting from logistics and including the tent environment and of course the quality of the food. Each meal contains all the protein and carbohydrates a person needs and consists of chicken or meat, vegetables, dates, juice and dessert. All the meals are wrapped and delivered to guests fresh and hot,” she said.

“Masr Al-Kheir took the initiative to establish the tents, which differ from the traditional tables, Mawaed Al-Rahman, that we are familiar with in Egypt,” she added.

The Masr Al-Kheir Ramadan tents target all kinds of people and not only ones on limited budgets. People trust the name of Masr Al-Kheir, and they do not feel embarrassed about eating inside the tents, usually preferring to sit and eat inside the tent instead of taking the pre-packaged food and leaving.  

Ramadan in tents

Al-Derbashi said that in some governorates the tents have been set up next to main roads, so guests who have not reached where they are going by Iftar can stop and eat inside the tent. In governorates not having Masr Al-Kheir tents, like Marsa Matrouh and North Sinai, food boxes are distributed, each also containing a full complement of protein, carbohydrates and other vital nutrients. Some governorates have more than one tent, including Cairo.

Adam Mohamed of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and a volunteer in the Masr Al-Kheir tents says that a specific protocol is followed in each. “At 4:30pm the meals are delivered to the tents. At 5:30 the guests are welcomed and at 6:30 we start the distribution of the meals,” he said.

He added that the aim was to deliver the best possible service to guests. “The idea of eating inside a tent makes people more comfortable about coming to enjoy their Iftar. A tent is better protected and is different from tables and chairs in the streets without any privacy. In my opinion people enjoy the tent more, and they can enjoy their meal without feeling they are being looked at,” Mohamed said.  

Masr Al-Kheir was founded in 2007 in order to encourage greater solidarity within society, including through educational and awareness-raising initiatives encouraging people to get more involved in charity.

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