Jordan charity aims to feed over 15 thousand families in poverty

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Volunteers at Jordanian charity, Tikyet Um Ali, are preparing to deliver food aid to thousands of people living in the kingdom.

The charity established more than a decade ago aims to tackle hunger and poverty in Jordan by distributing food to families.

Initially set up by Queen Alia al-Hussein, the NGO was among the first of its kind in the country.

“When the Tikyet was founded, its main goal was to feed people. And as you can see here, we are feeding almost anyone who walks through our doors. On a daily basis, we provide 400-500 hot meals to any passer-by,” said the charity’s general manager Samer Balqar.

“Hunger is present everywhere, and when speaking of hunger we are specifically talking about poor nutrition, we are not talking about famine here in Jordan. Jordan is a country that meets high international standards. However it is inevitable, in all countries of the world, to find some groups of people who have been ‘tested’, so it is our role to help these groups of people,” he added, as volunteers served hot meals to people in a canteen in Amman.

As well as the charity kitchen, Tikyet Um Ali also distributes food packages directly to families in need.

Jordan is home to thousands of refugees, including Palestinians and those fleeing the bloodshed in Syria.

The charity doesn’t have a specific program aimed at feeding Syrian refugees, they say they aim to serve everyone and are looking to feed up to 20 thousand families in the coming years.

“Our future projects are mainly to expand our operations and the number of families we reach. As I said, currently we are providing for 6,000 families, and by the end of the year this number will rise to 8,200 families. But our strategic, long-term plans for the Tikyet is to provide for all the families who live under the poverty line, which we approximate to be anywhere between 15-20 thousand families,” added Balqar.

According to research carried out by the charity, those living below the breadline earn under 410 US dollars a year. The charity estimates that there around 20 thousand families living in poverty.

Due to the influx of refugees from neighboring Syria the number could also rise.

The charity has its work cut out - it’s run mainly from donations. But Jordan itself is struggling to cope with the thousands of refugees seeking shelter in the country, and the cost of accommodating the refugees has squeezed Jordan’s economy.

In May the World Bank proposed to lend Jordan 150 million US dollars to help with the cost of the refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.

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