All photos courtesy of Qatar Red Crescent
Nearly three dozen Qatar-based volunteers have been working this month to implement a new initiative that reaches out to the country’s road, construction and cleaning workers.
The team of volunteers are part of the Qatar Red Crescent, which is aiming to help some 23,000 expats under its “Together for Benevolence” welfare program.
The campaign is being rolled out in three phases this month, with funding from Chevron Phillips Chemical Company Qatar LLC.
Phase 1 began on Dec. 15, with the distribution of meals to 10,000 workers. Water and juice is being distributed to another 10,000 men as part of phase two on New Year’s Day, and hygiene kits to 3,000 people are being handed out in the final phase in mid-January.
In a statement, Ms. Najat Al-Haidous, head of QRC volunteers section, said the goal was to show appreciation for the hard work demonstrated by those working for big projects like Qatar Rail, Msheireb, various sports clubs and others.
“This program seeks to help the poor expatriate workers. We go to them at their workplaces to give them small gifts and say thank you for all that you do for constructing the modern edifices and buildings of the Qatari society. This is the first version of the program, and we hope to repeat and expand it in the near future.”
In the past, other independent campaigns to help migrant workers in Qatar have been greeted with mixed emotions.
For example, each year, residents are encouraged to participate a campaign to donate boxes filled with toiletries and other necessities for blue-collar workers.
But the Box Appeal drew the ire of some Qatar residents who said expats should not have to rely on charity for essential toiletries and clothes, and instead be paid a decent wage so they can afford to purchase these things themselves.
However, other initiatives, such as one Qatari family’s tradition of providing free, homemade laban to the community, and another family’s effort to keep a fridge outside their house stocked with free food and beverages, have drawn applause from residents for their generosity.