“When you volunteer at El Baraka Angels, you are not there to put on airs. You feel like a superhero, and most importantly you learn that we can not be indifferent,” one member told MWN.
Rabat – El Baraka Angels, an NGO dedicated to helping the most disadvantaged members of Moroccan society, distributed iftar meals to the needy of Rabat this Ramadan for the 4th consecutive year in a row.
This month, the NGO handed out 3600 iftar (first meal after sundown) meal packs, with each pack containing all the essentials for a filling Ramadan meal – Moroccan bread and cheese, m’semen (Moroccan pancakes), orange juice and water, dates and chebakia (Moroccan pastries), and boiled eggs.
While the NGO would usually launch fundraisers to fund the initiative, this year there was no need as they were instead approached by generous companies willing to help out. Centrale Laitiere, Sidi Ali, and Credit du Maroc were among the companies to donate goods.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the team of El Baraka Angels took to the streets of Rabat to distribute 300 packs. Selwa Zine, the founder of the NGO, is always hands-on in helping out the groups many volunteers. The Ramadan food drive in Rabat is but one of many of the El Baraka Angels’ initiatives to combat poverty in Morocco.
On top of the sponsors, the NGO receives help from a rotating cast of volunteers touched by the cause. Last Wednesday, the staff of the Australian Embassy and its ambassador, HE Berenice Owen-Jones, visited the center to pack the 300 iftar meals before taking to the streets of Rabat to hand them out.
Speaking to Morocco World News, Owen-Jones spoke of the experience. “It is so easy to live in a bubble, and not realize that there are people in your own city that are struggling. Working with El Baraka Angels in Rabat was a real eye opener for me. Coming face to face with those in need in my own city as I handed out the packs, made me realize I can no longer be indifferent,” the ambassador said.
Zine founded the NGO in 2013 after she was deeply touched by the death of an infant in the village of Anfgou, a remote village in the Middle Atlas where temperatures drop as low as -16 degrees Celsius (3.2 degrees Fahrenheit). With such temperatures, the locals are often unequipped to cope.
The remote mountainous region around Anfgou suffers from a crippling lack of infrastructure, with many roads impassable in the winter months. Residents often complain of having to transport basic supplies by mule for long distances along icy roads.
Since then, El Baraka Angels has been delivering aid packages to the most economically disadvantaged parts of Morocco during the coldest times of the year – not an easy feat. The packages include 42 kg (93 lbs) of basic food and non-perishables, blankets and warm clothing for adults and children.
Generous donations of both money and time
This year, El Baraka Angels turned its attention to the abandoned and handicapped children of Taza, a small city in eastern Morocco. The NGO donates warm clothes, toys, milk, as well as other food items. Volunteers also took the time to interact with the children, playing with them and feeding them.
Thanks to extremely generous donations through Facebook, El Baraka Angels was also able to donate essential equipment and resources to schools, to a retirement home, and to a homeless shelter within the region.
El Baraka Angels’ hard work is carried out by 26 dedicated members, who vary in age and background but have one common goal: to fight for those who need the most support. The members of El Baraka Angels, in return, get to be part of something incredibly rewarding.
One El Baraka’s 26 members, Ahmed Nejjar, spoke to Morocco World News about his 4 years of experience volunteering with the NGO.
“Having already volunteered with many caritative associations in the past, I was surprised by the professionalism at El Baraka Angels, and the desire in each member’s eyes driven by the leadership and hard work of our president Mrs Selwa Zine,” Nejjar said of the association.
“I derive great satisfaction and happiness when I participate in caravans and social aid. When you volunteer at El Baraka Angels, you are not there to put on airs. You feel like a superhero, and most importantly you learn that we can not be indifferent,” Nejjar continued.
“We cannot be indifferent” is the motto of the NGO, and speaks volumes to their determination not to turn a blind eye to the most disadvantaged members of Moroccan society.