Mohamed Shafaath Ahmed, a senior Managed Services Specialist at Qatar Foundation, revealed that QF is organising a Ramadan Iftar tent at Minaretein Center for the seventh year in a row. It was initially in the Education City Mosque area, but after the number of guests increased, Minaretein Center decided to create a large tent to accommodate the large number of guests at the tent.

He explained in an interview with Gulf Times that the volunteers play a major role in organising the event and helping to hold it in the best way, adding that 250 volunteers who work in the tent help in providing meals to the fasting guests. The tent is open to everyone and is not limited to workers or members of the Education City only.

He said that everyone is equally welcomed, regardless of background. "We have more than 1,800 male guests in male-only tent area, and more than 400 female guests in female-only tent area, including more than 500 guests with children who grace the tent with their presence daily."

He said: "The joy of visiting the tent that is felt by the community members is evident from the fact that, this year we started with 1,000 meals and 80 volunteers on the first day of Ramadan, and we have now exceeded 2,500 meals and more than 250 volunteers."

He continued: "The tent's daily operations begin at 4pm. The registered volunteers attend at the login office, showing the QR code, and using the barcode scanner to log in. Then they receive the volunteers' jacket, explaining that they begin receiving guests in the tent at quarter past five, so the volunteers have between 30-45 minutes to prepare the tent to receive the guests".

He added: "For guests, the tent is easily accessible by QF tram services which is integrated with Qatar Rail Metro services. In addition, huge parking spaces are available at Oxygen Park with quick access to the nearest QF tram station. As guests arrive, they are warmly welcomed by the team of our volunteers to guide them for ablution, separate areas for male and family, as well as guiding guests with kids. There are ablution water tanks, shoe racks and guiding barriers for entrances".

He explained that there are various circles working in motion starting from welcoming guests, guiding guests with kids towards family exclusive seating spaces, seating arrangements, sound system arrangements, logistics, food distribution, waste segregation, sustainability awareness announcements, promoting zero waste, moderating water usage, and security and safety of tent.

He pointed out that experiencing the tapestry of all these circles working in perfect sync and bringing alive the barakah (blessing) of the tent daily is an incredible mystifying feeling by itself.

He added that the food tables are placed in rows side by side, and then the meals begin to be distributed through the distribution points, which are called food stations. He stressed that the tent is open to everyone, whether as a volunteer to work or help, or as a guest, without any restrictions or requirements.

He said: "People enter as guests and leave as patrons, and Individuals enter as volunteers and leave the tent as community leaders. Community members from all walks of life, Muslim or non-Muslim, students, professionals, doctors, cleaners, drivers, staff, tourists enter the tent and leave as informed citizens about significance of sustainability practices and internalise environmental impact."

Students participate as volunteers and leave as zero-waste educators, families enter with their children and leave with a lifetime of inspiring memories, waste is completely recycled, juice cans are recycled into aluminium, wet waste such as fruit peels are recycled into compost, cutlery and meal boxes are recycled and repurposed for other biodegradable products.

He concluded by saying that all these societal enriching values created through the unusual Ramadan “TENT” contribute towards building stronger communities and strengthen collective human spirit at global level.

A number of volunteers working in the Iftar tent at Minaretein Center expressed their happiness in participating in this important charitable work during the holy month of Ramadan, by providing Iftar meals to this large number of guests every day, pointing out that volunteer work and helping others is tantamount to donating and benevolent to others through work and effort.

Ahmed Saleh said that he is keen to participate in organising this tent on an ongoing basis through his volunteer work, for which he expects reward from God Almighty during this holy month. He explained that contributing to preparing a meal for the fasting person is a great matter in our true Islamic religion, and there is no doubt that it contributes to strengthening the spirit of solidarity and love between people and all members of the community.

He continued: "I wait every day for the time to come to Minaretein Center to participate with my brothers and sisters in preparing the tent for those who are fasting, and I make sure to guide and assist them by distributing volunteers into multiple work teams, each of which has a special task."

Ismail Abdille explained that organising this tent is an annual practice that we are accustomed to participating in at Qatar Foundation, as it is considered a major destination for many fasting people working in the Education City as well as from abroad, pointing out the importance of volunteer work in spreading the spirit of solidarity and unity among all members of society, where everyone stands together, side by side without discrimination or preference for one person over another, which enhances the spirit of equality, justice and familiarity among all.

Kange AbuBakar said that contributing to preparing the daily breakfast table at Minaretein Center is a unique experience from which he learned a lot, such as helping others and feeling comfortable and happy that we are the reason for the happiness of others, pointing out the importance of volunteer work in bringing this to fruition in a unique and distinct form.

He added that all the volunteers co-operate with each other in order to serve the tent guests, pointing out that Minaretein Center has provided all the necessary capabilities to accommodate this large number of guests daily, which reaches 2,500 visitors.

Mohamed Samhoun said: "The month of Ramadan has a special spirituality that makes everyone race to do good and help people. From this standpoint, I volunteered to work in organising this tent, which is organised annually and witnesses a large attendance, which makes it require more volunteers to organise the place and provide meals on time of the Maghrib Athan without delay."

He added: "After finishing the Iftar meal, everyone also co-operates in cleaning the place and helping the guests to leave and go to the mosque to perform the Maghrib prayer. Some of them wait until the evening and Taraweeh prayers, while others leave immediately after the Maghrib prayer."

Mohamed Ali explained that the teachings of Islam encourage volunteering and charitable work, and that the benefits of volunteering accrue to the volunteer himself. In addition to the great reward in the afterlife, he receives a moral return in this life as volunteer work is an important means of obtaining happiness and psychological comfort.

He pointed out that participating in this event contributes to satisfying the religious and spiritual aspect of volunteers. Volunteer work also contributes to satisfying the need for success, accomplishment, and achieving goals, as the individual feels a psychological motivation that urges him to volunteer to do the work that achieves a deep sense of accomplishment and achieving goals for himself. In addition to provide services for the people that need it, which applies to participating in Minaretein Center Iftar tent.
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