RAMADAN FOOD PACKS. Workers for international non-government organizations (NGOs) distribute food packs to indigent residents for the month of Ramadan in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) starting last week. Turkey and German international NGOs regularly send food and gift packs for BARMM's indigent Muslims during the fasting month. (Photos courtesy of BDA)

COTABATO CITY  – International non-government organizations (NGOs) from Turkey and Germany have sent in 4,000 food packs for the Bangsamoro people observing the fasting month of Ramadan, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the BDA noted that Turkey has been supportive of the Mindanao peace process by sponsoring numerous development and humanitarian projects in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) communities.

For this year, the Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi (TDV) or Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, started distributing since last week food packs to 1,500 families in Cotabato City and in the municipalities of Sultan Kudarat, Datu Blah Sinsuat, and Parang all in Maguindanao.

TDV also provided gift packages to some 500 Moro orphans containing a prayer dress with a “hijab” (Muslim women's head covering) and veils for the girls.

A group of about 500 women and widows in Maguindanao and boat operators in Cotabato City also received food packs.

The distributions are ongoing and are expected to last until the end of the Ramadan, the BDA said.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Weltweiter Einsatz für Arme (WEFA), a German international humanitarian organization, also distributed 100 food packs to indigents and regularly sponsored free meals for “iftar” (breaking of fast) to selected orphanage centers in Cotabato City.

“WEFA also sponsored gifts for the orphans that made their Ramadan more meaningful,” the BDA said in a statement.

Volunteers from Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), a conservative Turkish NGO, joined counterparts during the delivery of 1,400 food packages to poor families in Maguindanao as well as “iftar” to selected orphanages in the region.

Beneficiaries’ stories

Saadia Alipolo, 64, of Barangay Matuber, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao, received 16 kilos of rice along with other food items this period of Ramadan.

Living with her family of four, with grandchildren, Saadia said the items will be good enough for the family’s meal for at least seven days.

Bong Ansa, a farmer and fisherman, has four kids and was happy to receive food packs for the fasting period.

Another recipient, Nasir Bunter, a pump boat operator with five children, did not mind the heavy rain just to get the relief goods for his family for Ramadan. They are from Barangay Katidtuan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

“Shukran (thank you), we will have food for suhoor (early morning food),” he said in the vernacular. (PNA)