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Ramadan: I travel 9.5km daily to get free Iftar for my 9 children – Gombe villager

Amadu Galadima, 49, is a family man with 9 children and one of the beneficiaries of an annual Ramadan feeding programme organised by a Bulgarian-based…

Amadu Galadima, 49, is a family man with 9 children and one of the beneficiaries of an annual Ramadan feeding programme organised by a Bulgarian-based charity organisation, Charity Association Margarity, in Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe State.

He said he travels 9.5km daily from his village down to Dukku to get the Iftar meal for his family.

“I usually secure motorcycle lift from good Samaritans going to Dukku so that I can get to where the food is distributed to have a plate, and the quantity served is good. When coming back, sometimes I trek some distance before I can see someone to give me a lift back home.

“When I get the food, I take it to my family and I hardly get a mouthful of it. I have 9 children, 5 girls and 4 boys, and this food is greatly helping us as we don’t have what to eat at home. We thank this Association for this gesture,” Galadima told our correspondent.

Speaking to Daily Trust weekend, the Nigeria Country Coordinator of Charity Association Margarity, Alhaji Hafiz Muhammad Sulaiman, said the organisation feeds at least 300 people daily, including widows, orphans, almajiri children and other underprivileged persons.

He said, “This Ramadan, we are feeding not less than 300 people. The food is packaged in ‘takeaway packs’ and distributed at five centres here in Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe State. There are people, especially widows, who come to where the food is prepared to have their share. Some people come an hour before the commencement of the distribution exercise. This speaks volume about the extent of their need.”

According to the coordinator, the organisation fed 18,000 people (600 for 30 days) during the last year’s Ramadan.

He explained that the feeding programme had been impacted this year by reduction in donations received by the organisation — a development he linked to Gaza war.

“Our donors are from across the world and this Gaza war is affecting many economies, and the reduction in the donation is not unconnected to this development.

“We are using the resources we have at hand to provide assistance to people in need. The situation is particularly different this Ramadan because of the economic hardship in the country (Nigeria).

“Sometimes we experience chaotic distribution exercise because a lot of people queue up to have the food we distribute, but we are doing our best to ensure smooth exercise.

“During Ramadan, we concentrate majorly on feeding people. But our work transcends this. For example, the association has constructed more than 60 handpump boreholes in Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Taraba and Adamawa states in 3 years.

“We have renovated two orphanages in Gombe metropolis and provided one in Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe State,” the coordinator added.

A widow and mother of eight, who simply identified herself as Asabe, said she comes from a far distance every day to collect the Iftar meal.

She said, “I come from Daurawa (a quarters in Dukku) to collect a plate of this food. I have eight children. I thank these people that are providing this help to us. In this hardship, having this food is really helping us. With this food, at least we have what to eat for dinner. It is a great relief!”

Another widow, Malama Fatsuma, said she and her children depend on the Iftar meal distributed by the association.

“We feed on this food. We thank the leadership of this Association for helping us with what to eat. It is only Allah that will reward them. It is a great help, especially in this trying time,” she stated.

Abdullahi Isma’il, 36, is a father of four who also benefits from the food distribution by the Charity Organisation.

Isma’il said the food is a great succour to him especially in the face of the economic hardship in the country when prices of food items have increased drastically.

“In this period when prices of food items have increased, the food we get here (from the association) is a succour to my family. Sometimes we hardly have what to eat, but with this help, at least I have what to take to my family every day. I’ve been saved the cost of giving them dinner at least,” he said.

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