Culture

Young Algerian volunteers make food for those in need this Ramadan

North Africa

As part of the 'Youth of Mercy' campaign, Algerian youth volunteer their time to make food for the needy in the country's capital this Ramadan. This is the fifth year that the group is carrying out this initiative.

In Algeria’s capital city, Algiers, a volunteer group run by young people has been hosting regular iftar meals for the poor during the holy month of Ramadan in the Bil Bou Zdad neighbourhood.

The volunteer group, called Youth of Mercy, has been operating various initiatives, including providing iftar meals, across Algeria for five years.

“We were a group on Facebook and we turned our work into a reality,” said one of the organisers of the volunteer group. “People that connect with us on Facebook come to the restaurant and see that the Youth of Mercy is active and then more young people join us. The young person’s life changes after the voluntary experience.”

In a short space of time the volunteer group has grown to become one of Algeria’s leading voluntary organisations, with branches in many of the country’s provinces. Their work is not just restricted to the holy month of Ramadan, with the group operating a number of different initiatives across the country all year round.

The group’s initiatives include cleaning mosques, visiting people in hospital and in care homes for the elderly, caring for children and organising group visits to orphanages. One of the volunteer group’s aims is to instil a sense of pride and compassion for their community, especially those who are in need.

“I can’t say that we are working to direct or discipline people the way mosques and schools do,” said the organiser of Youth for Mercy. “But by doing voluntary work the young person acquires values and principles especially when he’s young when he joins.”

During Ramadan, after the group host their iftar meals, the volunteers and their clients move to a different restaurant where they can socialise with each other and gain a better understanding of each person’s needs over a shared shisha pipe.