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Volunteers making ‘Ramadan special’ for children, elderly

By Suzanna Goussous - Jun 27,2016 - Last updated at Jun 27,2016

The Watan Initiative holds iftar banquets and recreational activities for underprivileged children and senior citizens (Photo courtesy of Watan Initiative volunteers)

AMMAN — For the fifth year running, the Watan Initiative is encouraging young people to contribute to their communities by organising iftar feasts for the underprivileged in Amman during the fasting month of Ramadan.  

More than 2,000 volunteers distribute meals and organise iftar banquets, the sunset meal that breaks the daily fast in Ramadan, for orphans, cancer patients, children with heart diseases and elderly residents, the co-founder of the initiative, who preferred not to give his name, said on Sunday.  

He told The Jordan Times that he started the Watan (Homeland) Initiative as a young university student. 

“As first-year university students, you don't have much to worry about, and you have a lot of spare time. When we first started university, we thought, ‘Why not do something in our spare time that would benefit the community?’” he explained. 

For him, the initiative is a chance to break free of the routine of daily life, and to do something to help others.  

“Away from the traditional and conventional mindset of finishing Tawjihi [the General Secondary Education Certificate Examination] and moving on to the application process to universities and then submitting resumes to companies to get a job, we aimed to start this initiative,” the 22-year-old said.

“It started as a small project; we wanted to do something different,” he said, explaining that the initiative grew over the years, and now 25 volunteers attend each event. 

This year, the initiative held banquets for more than 400 children and elderly people from west Amman, to help make their Ramadan special and to lend a hand to those in need, the student said.

Around 50 to 100 children are invited to each event, depending on the capacity of the venue, he added.

The age range of volunteers is between 12 and 25, he said, adding that younger generations are always excited to “give back” to their communities. 

This year, volunteers received a number of phone calls from citizens interested in donating to organisations associated with the initiative. 

“For someone my age, I don't have many responsibilities or duties… Our biggest concern is to pass our classes,” the co-founder said, adding that the initiative gave him the opportunity to fulfil his social responsibility towards his community. 

Before organising banquets, volunteers contact organisations taking care of children and the elderly to set a date to share an iftar meal and to arrange transport to and from the venues.  


The organisers of the initiative can be reached through their Facebook page:, or by phone on 0799870008.

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