It’s one of the largest fitrah operations in South Africa and is a logistical headache, but every year, the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF) pulls it off. The operation is held annually in the last ten days of Ramadan, as Muslim charity organisations increase efforts to provide relief to fasting Muslims for the day of Eid. This weekend, the well-known Zakah institution kicked into high gear with Operation Fitrah Campaign in which thousands of fitrah hampers were packed at the Athlone Civic Centre.
The civic centre was a hive of activity as truckloads of goods carted supplies for the food hampers. Packed with volunteers, the civic centre resembled an assembly line in a factory, as the workers, many of them youth and scout members, rolled up their sleeves to start packing. Due to the overwhelming support from the public, by 1pm SANZAF had reached its target of 1000 parcels packed.
“We are in the last 10 days of Ramadan and all the collections we made thusfar allows us to purchase the fitrah parcels and start making these hampers so that we can distribute towards the end of this week,” explained SANZAF spokesperson Yasmina Francke.“Our objective is to deliver 16 500 parcels in the Western Cape this year, so we have a long way to go.”
Operation Fitrah is one of the vital annual relief projects SANZAF undertakes. Its main objective is to ensure that every Muslim is free from want on the auspicious day of Eid-ul-Fitr. Nationally, SANZAF aims to support 23 000 families on the day of Eid as part of Operation Fitrah.
The Operation Fitrah campaign consists of two processes; the packing of the individual parcels as well as the bulk distributions. This will continue this week from the Bridgetown masjid where various masajid can collect in bulk and carry out their own hamper packing.
SANZAF’s Bridgetown and Mitchell’s Plain branches spent the weekend assessing the fitrah parcels and compiling database of beneficiaries.
“To ensure the monies we receive for fitrah, we have the amaanah (duty) to ensure it goes to the correct recipients. We have a process to check that the recipients are eligible for zakah. We issue them with a voucher in which they can collect later in the month,” said Francke.SANZAF’s main hubs are in Athlone, Mitchell’s Plain and Grassy Park and these areas serve as distribution hubs. These offices have the task of distributing fitrah hampers to their communities and other areas.
“It’s a lot of coordination and it’s a huge logistical task. But alhamdullilah, we have been doing it for many years and the systems are in place. More importantly, we have the right people. The skill is there and we operate as a well-oiled machine.”
Francke appealed to the Muslim public to donate their fitrah early.
“There is so much work in procuring the fitrah hampers. We need all Capetonians to pay their fitrah and fidya sooner rather than later.”
For more information on SANZAF Projects and Programmes, follow them on Twitter @SANZAFSA or like their Facebook page.
Also visit sanzaf.org.za to find out how you can pay your fitrah. VOC