To help make it easier for blue-collar expats and needy families in Qatar to afford household items and other goods, a local charity has launched a new fundraising scheme.
The campaign, called Yestahloon or They Deserve Better, is being spearheaded by Qatar Charity.
The group is encouraging companies and individuals to buy vouchers worth QR5 or QR10 each to give to employees and people in need in lieu of tipping in cash for their services, or as a reward for good work.
The vouchers will be for sale at QC outlets.
They can then be used by the recipients to “buy” lightly-used items such as clothing, household and electrical goods, baby equipment etc. at one of seven centers the charity is setting up in areas that have lots of low-cost housing and labor camps.
Speaking to Doha News, Qatar Charity volunteer Ahmad Zidan explained:
“A company with thousands of employees may not be able to afford to reward all its staff properly in cash, but we are telling them they could reward their staff by buying each worker a voucher instead.
QR5 in cash doesn’t buy anything, but with this system, they might be able to get a Hilfiger shirt using that voucher.”
The year-long initiative ties in with the charity’s existing Tayf program, which includes nearly 200 collection points across the country at schools, supermarkets, parks and offices and accepts donations of good quality, second-hand items. Everything except food and money can be donated.
You can see a full list of the donation locations on the charity’s site here.
Once donated, these items will be cleaned, sorted and distributed to the newly-established centers that will be run by the charity.
Each center will have a selection of stock, much of it well-known brands, with items marked at around QR5 each.
Though Qatar has the world’s highest income per capita, it is home to hundreds of thousands of people who struggle to make ends meet due to low wages and the high cost of living here.
Zidan, who came up with the campaign idea, said that in addition to rewarding employees, individuals can hand out vouchers instead of tipping for service.
“When you are at the supermarket, you might tip the guy who takes your cart to the car, but you don’t tip the person at the till, or the one who puts the cereal out on the shelves. It struck me the tipping system wasn’t very fair.”
“Also, you don’t know what people will do with the money. They might spend it inappropriately, on drink or cigarettes. With the voucher system, you know they will get something for themselves or to benefit their families,” Zidan added.
Tayf outlets are being set up in locations including Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Doha’s Industrial Area and Mesaieed, while temporary mobile units can also be taken to labor camps in areas such as Shahaniyah, to allow the workers to easily access them.
Some people who feel too proud to accept cash donations may also be more willing to be given a voucher, Zidan said.
“There are a lot of people in Qatar who need things. Many of them are workers but there are also needy families who can benefit from this. You are helping someone with dignity to get help,” he added.
Instructions on the reverse of the vouchers are written in English, Arabic, Hindi and Urdu and include locations of the centers, opening times and contact numbers.
The money made by the charity from the sale of the vouchers will also be used to fund its international emergency relief efforts in countries such as Syria or Nepal.
Previously, the charity would ship the donated clothing and blankets from Qatar to the country in need. However, high transportation costs and potentially dangerous journeys have caused charities to rethink their strategy.
Instead, Qatar Charity has started using cash donations to buy the required items much closer to the location in need, thus reducing the transportation costs and enabling the charity to get more items for the same amount of money.
For example in Syria, clothing and blankets will be bought nearer the Turkish border and transported from there, rather than shipped all the way from Qatar at significant expense.
Meanwhile, the donated goods which are now not being sent abroad can be distributed to individuals and families in Qatar who are in need.
“This campaign has several purposes – it will benefit people in Qatar and also raise money for Qatar Charity’s international work,” Zidan added.
In addition to clothes, the charity also accepts donations of larger items such as furniture, electrical items and even cars, which can be collected from the donor by prior arrangement.
Vehicles and other larger items are auctioned off twice a year as part of the charity’s ongoing fundraising efforts.
Would you buy these vouchers? Thoughts?