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Focus on Famine

Volunteers will be partnering with the International Development and Relief Foundation to pack supply kits, which will be sent to families facing famine in East Africa.

Ramadan is usually a time for fasting, prayer and renewal of religious devotion.

For some local Muslims, this year’s Ramadan will also be a time to organize and send some relief to those facing hunger and famine.

From Toronto to Ottawa and Calgary, members of the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) are teaming up with students and Muslim volunteers to prepare and pack about 1,500 supply kits to be delivered to thousands of families in Somalia.

“Ramadan is the time for us to show support to others, and do something to care for those who are suffering,” said Farheen Khan, IDRF’s director of fund development and external affairs. “30 million people are facing starvation and it’s important that we try to help any way we can.”

The charity has led campaigns across the country to raise funds for the cause before. This time staff have partnered with Global Medic to purchase portable water purification units, hygienic items and nutrition supplements to include in each kit.

Somalia is one of four African countries where the United Nations has declared a state of emergency and warned full-blown famine could break out if US$4.4 billion is not earmarked to counter the catastrophe. South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen are also at risk.

East Africa is in the midst of drought conditions that have devastated crops and livestock, displaced millions of people and left thousands of children severely malnourished.

Khan said the Ramadan campaign is also about educating Canadian children about global issues.

“We want them to know they can be part of the solution,” she said.

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