* Wardha Mamukoya, founder of Wa’hab Food Heroes – an organisation that raises awareness on food waste, says sharing warm meals during the holy month of Ramadan can bring people closer when they cannot get together
Ramadan is a month of divine blessings. We know that there are numerous positive effects of fasting on the human body and mind. One such blessing of the holy month is the spirit of giving and charity to those in need.
Islamic teachings lay immense emphasis on sharing food and feeding the fasting and the needy, particularly during Ramadan.
The spirit of sharing and caring cannot be felt more than ever during this Ramadan as the world continues to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.
The least one can do is not waste food or to share the extra food on the table with those fasting but do not have enough to eat.
It can be a practice of reducing food waste and taking care of the needy at the same time.
There are people in Qatar committed to this noble cause by collecting extra food and distributing it among the less privileged.
Wa’hab Food Heroes is the best example of raising awareness on eliminating food waste.
The initiative was started by Indian expatriate Wardha Mamukoya in 2017. An electronics and communication engineer by qualification, Wardha’s passion lies in sustainable energy, circular economy and social entrepreneurship.
She got the idea of starting Wa’hab after she witnessed food waste during a party.
Gulf Times recently spoke to Wardha on how people can help reduce food waste and best use the extra food during the holy month.
“First of all we have to bring the focus on the point that Ramadan is not all about food. The month is more about about self-reflection and achieving piety.”
She added that relations can be bettered by sharing food and reducing food loss.
In response to a question on how people can manage or reduce food waste during the holy month, the food hero said: “The first thing we need to do is to cook at home. When we cook at home and do not purchase from outside, we have a better idea about the amount of food we are producing. Usually, we do our Iftar shopping from outside when we are hungry.
"We tend to purchase more and when we break our fast we feel that we do not need all this food. It is documented that we buy more when we are hungry. I can say by cooking at home we reduce a lot of extra food that is wasted during Ramadan.”
The spirit of giving is palpable during the month and often manifests in the form of food distribution.
Food distribution activities can be made more secure and smarter, ensuring that the maximum number of deserving people get it, she said.
“With the current pandemic, we see more people in need of our help. Prior to the virus outbreak, there used to be large Iftar parties and people had a chance to get together. By giving away food during the pandemic, we not only do charity but also get connected with other people.
"Sharing the extra food can bring the warmth of getting together when people cannot socialise.”
Asked how Wa’hab Food Heroes can help people looking for ways to distribute their extra food, Wardah said her organisation helps by spreading awareness about the distribution of surplus food.“There are lots of people who have untouched and extra food during Ramadan. They do not know that there are organisations that can collect this surplus food and redistribute it.
"We also raise awareness about reducing the food waste.”
As more and more people are losing their livelihoods, the food hero underlines the point that people need to renew their connection with each other during the hard times.“We need to have empathy towards others. We understand during Ramadan that what hunger is. We need to appreciate food more. We need to waste it less. Ironically, we still see many people waste their food. We need to appreciate the food that it is a blessing and realise that there are people who are not getting food comfortably.
"To bring the sense of community, we need to share our warm meals with others.”