Dawoodi Bohra communities in North America are taking action this month in support of the United Nations World Food Day campaign for healthy diets for a zero hunger world. Project Rise – a global Dawoodi Bohra initiative established to improve the lives of the less fortunate – is working in partnership with government bodies and local organisations around the world to help alleviate hunger, raise health and nutrition levels among children and mothers, and reduce food waste.
Dawoodi Bohras in North America have joined forces with fellow community members in over 150 cities across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe in distributing many tons of food to the poor and homeless as part of a global campaign to mark this year’s World Food Day, which is themed around making healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone.
- In Mississauga, Ontario, local Bohras marked Canadian Thanksgiving by donating turkeys to Knights Table, an organisation that for over 27 years has been helping to alleviate hunger in the region. The donated turkeys helped Knights Table prepare over 500 nutritious meals for vulnerable members of society.
- In Orange County, California, members of the community are providing groceries to families below the poverty line and whose children attend the Bon View Elementary School next to the Bohras’ Jamali Masjid.
- In Portland, Oregon, the Bohras are holding a food collection and donation drive for the Oregon Food Bank, which works to provide nutritious foods (healthy, whole grain, low-fat, low-sodium and low-sugar products) to families in need.
- In Calgary, Alberta, Dawoodi Bohras are collecting food items and donating them to the Calgary Food Bank which provides emergency food support for families and individuals facing crises.
- In Detroit, Michigan, Bohras are collecting food and donating it to a local charity. The Detroit Bohras’ Dana (or Grain) Committee campaigns year-round to eliminate food wastage.
A member from the Orange County community, Yusuf Zakir, said, ‘Dawoodi Bohras in America and Canada, especially students and youngsters, are working hard to provide practical support to mark the UN’s World Food Day. In fact, Bohras everywhere regularly take steps to tackle hunger, malnutrition, and food waste – every day of the year. We believe that nobody should go to bed hungry. The Head of our community – His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin – regularly reminds us that it is our duty to help the less fortunate members of society and look after them.’
Many of the values at the core of the Bohra faith – including eradicating poverty and hunger, improving health and education, empowering women, avoiding waste, and preserving the natural environment – align very closely with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For centuries, Bohras around the world have been living their daily lives according to these principles, regularly taking practical action to support members of society who most need help.
While the United Nations’ efforts to tackle hunger and malnutrition are well documented, less so is their campaign to avoid throwing away food. Over one third of the world’s food is wasted – a problem that Bohras have largely eliminated within their community by cooking, serving and taking only what is needed.
Mr Zakir continued, ‘many Americans and Canadians were among the 27,000 Bohras that gathered in Sri Lanka last month to commemorate Ashara Mubaraka, an important event in the Muslim calendar, and who participated in the Bohras’ long-standing zero food waste policy throughout their global congregation from September 1-10. By focusing on portion control and distributing leftovers to the homeless and needy, the Bohras were able to ensure that no food went to waste.’
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