Feeding poor people in Myanmar

A Rohingya family receiving Qurbani meat from Islamic Relief Waqf

Over a quarter of Myanmar’s population live below the national poverty line. Some three million people were classed as food-poor in 2016, and nearly 35 per cent of all children under the age of five were chronically malnourished. Decades of conflict and violence have shattered the lives of many families, explained father-of-six U Hla Kyaw, 63 when we met him at one of the country’s camps for internally displaced people.

“I owned a fish trading centre, I had many customers. I could commute anywhere I wanted to go and could buy everything I needed. I could send my children to school. Sultan Ahmed, 70, once made a decent living from his fifteen acres of paddy fields – until his lands were confiscated a decade ago. He now earns what he can as a daily labourer.

“I do all kinds of work to get a small income to provide for my family. I would like to feed my family delicious food, but I cannot. We normally eat dry fish and vegetables,” he said, pointing out that meat is unaffordable for impoverished families.

“However, all my possessions were lost during the conflict in 2012, and I feel that I do not have freedom. I wish I could have a better life, especially for my children.”

Donations made to Islamic Relief Waqf brought joy to U Hla Kyaw and Sultan Ahmed – and thousands of others. Altogether, 165 Qurbanis were performed and the meat distributed to the poorest families in Rakhine state, Myanmar.

“Today is a blessed day for our family and our community,” said Ahmed, when he received his family meat pack on Eid ul-Adha. “Thank you so much to the donors, I pray to Allah to help the donors.” The two-kilogram packs of beef enabled some 4,459 people in Rakhine state to celebrate the religious festival with nutritious, hearty meals.

Now living in Kaung Doat Kar Camp, U Hla Kyaw and his family enjoyed Qurbani meat at Eid

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