Bahraini in drive to feed starving Somalis
Manama, March 8, 2010
A Bahraini charity worker has launched an appeal to feed a million starving people in Somalia.
Khalid Al Khayat aims to raise BD20,000 ($53,000) which, at 20 fils ($0.053) a time will provide a single survival meal to a million Somalis.
The meal is a soup-like concoction which is all the starving stomachs can initially tolerate, but one cup a day is enough to sustain them.
He has already collected BD1,000 and hopes he will achieve his goal by the end of this month.
Al Khayat is also calling on His Majesty King Hamad to launch a national campaign in support of the world's starving, especially those in Africa.
This is the third time Al Khayat has campaigned to raise money in support of the poor in Somalia.
"This is the third campaign I have done, the other two were in 2006 and 2007 for orphans in Somalia," he said.
"I wanted to help after I visited Somalia in 1989 as part of the first Arab work camp for 60 men and women from the GCC and 60 Somalis.
"We stayed in Ailjaley and saw how poor Africans really lived, the food we ate was so awful we used to throw it in the garbage and then we saw people in the village come and eat what we had thrown away.
"When we saw this we started asking for more food so we could give it to them. From then I started liking Somalia and Africa and wanted to help."
In 2006 Al Khayat's goal was to raise BD500 to purchase 25,000 meals for the poor in Somalia, but instead he received BD6,6000 and was able to buy 330,000.
In 2007 he launched another campaign to raise BD1,000 for 50,000 meals, but was delighted to receive BD9,000, which enabled him to feed 450,000.
"Each meal is 20 fils, it's a combination of milk, corn, oil, sugar and flour which they make into a thick soup, because of starvation this is all their stomachs can handle," said Al Khayat, who is a public relations specialist in the banking and investment sector.
"It's actually drunk not eaten and one cup is enough nutrition for one day."
Al Khayat, from Hidd, said that although there was poverty in every country, the poor in Africa were really in need of help.
"I fell much more needs to be done to help Africa. When I visited in 1989 it was the golden age in Somalia, since then they have gone through several wars," he said.
"The best thing I saw there was that people don't discriminate between religions, because everyone is in the same situation."
Money raised during the campaign will be directed to the Kuwait-based charity Direct Aid, which will buy and distribute the meals in Somalia. – TradeArabia News Service