Muscat: Omani national Nasr Al Jahdhamy has donated more than 1,200 sweaters to schoolchildren, and another 2,000 dishdashas, to people in Tanzania, during a trip taken to the African country during this year’s Ramadan.
Nasr, who has previously undertaken many aid trips to Yemen, taking with him convoys of trucks filled with tonnes of aid, including flour, clothes, medicines, toys, books and many other items for those affected by the conflict there, organised his efforts in Tanzania with the help of the Asma Mwinyi Foundation.
“This foundation is run by the daughter of the President of Zanzibar, and they organise a lot of aid for the needy in their country,” said Al Jahdhamy.
“She lives in both Tanzania and Zanzibar – both places have different issues that need solving – but this time, she needed help in an area in which she does not normally operate.”
Nasr had collected sweaters donated out of the goodwill of students and staff from Indian schools in Oman, which were intended for children in the city of Morogoro, some 200km from the capital, Dar-Es-Salaam.
Nasr and his team spent four days in the city, handing out these sweaters at the Dalai Primary and Secondary School.
“It is only about an hour by plane from the capital, but from there, it takes another three hours by road to get to where we handed out the sweaters,” he said. “We gave more than 1,000 sweaters to children from grade one to grade twelve.”
Once he’d finished there, he went to the island region of Zanzibar. On the archipelago, he freely gave 2,000 Omani dishdashas to the needy.
Because it was Ramadan, people in the area he visited also each received a kilo of dates, so that they could break their fast.
His humanitarian visits to Zanzibar have come as part of the efforts of Hussein Mwinyi, the President of Zanzibar, whose father, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, was himself head of state for Tanzania from 1985 to 1995.
While there, he met with the president to draw up further plans to take care of the needy in Zanzibar and the rest of the country, through the Asma Mwinyi foundation.
Nasr is better known for his aid trips to Yemen, often organised either himself or through the Oman Charitable Organisation, but began his relief efforts in Tanzania many years previously.
He has deeply personal connections to the African country: His father is an Omani from Zanzibar, while his mother is from Tanganyika.
When the two merged to form Tanzania in 1964, he headed to the mainland, where he got married. In the 1980s, eight years after Nasr was born, the family moved to Oman. Nasr returned to the land of his birth 27 years later, and shortly afterwards began preparations to help the needy there.
“We began our charity in Tanzania in a very simple manner, distributing dates, clothes, and copies of the Holy Quran,” he said.
“But as our trips there have increased, so have the things we donate to people there. I take with me aids for disabled people, as well as medicines for the community.
“We also organised efforts to build a mosque for the local population, and drilled wells for them so that they have access to fresh water,” he added.
Nasr’s aid trips are always organised during the Holy Month, where he takes his annual leave, normally making it a point to return just before Eid: he’s been employed as a public relations officer at Majan Shipping for the last 20 years. Although unable to celebrate Eid with his family this year, he realises his time in Africa is for a higher purpose.
Before travelling to Tanzania, Nasr and his family made food in their kitchen every day to distribute during the time of iftar to low-income workers in the country.
“On 29 May, I travelled to Qatar, where I spent a day, before flying to Oman the next day. This was the only route available to me, because unfortunately, when I flew to Tanzania during Ramadan, there were no Oman Air flights available because of issues around the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Before the next Eid, I intend to get more support from Oman, so that with the help of the president, we can get more aid for the needy in Zanzibar,” said Nasr.
“Before Eid Al Adha, we plan on sending them a 20-feet container filled with clothes. This will go directly to the Zanzibar government, and they will take care to distribute these clothes where they are needed.
“Hussein Mwinyi has been the President of Zanzibar for a year now, and he is very keen to help the needy,” he said.
“Hopefully, our assistance will benefit his people. Meeting the president was a great honour, and with his help, we can hopefully provide aid to those in Africa who require it.”
Apart from Tanzania, through charitable organisations, Nasr also sent sweaters to people who need them in Yemen and Syria. He is hopeful the kindness and generosity of the people in Oman will once again shine through, the next time he begins collecting aid for those who need it most.
“I am most thankful for the Indian schools in Oman for the effort they organised in collecting these clothes,” he said.