By Reem Saad
An urgent relief campaign for the people of Aleppo has netted nearly QR245 million in the first few hours of its launch, Qatar charity organizers have said.
Helping Syrians in the war-ravaged city was the focus of this year’s Qatar National Day, and the money was raised last night during a fundraising session at Darb Al Saai in Al Sadd.
The campaign will last through Dec. 20 and is being organized by five of the country’s leading local charities.
They include Qatar Charity, Eid Charity, Qatar Red Crescent Society, Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) and Afif Charity.
Donations pour in
Last night, more than QR243 million in donations were collected from some 100 charity boxes scattered around the Darb Al Saai grounds.
Donations of all types, including money, jewelry and vehicles were received.
Throughout the evening, the fundraising campaign was broadcast live on speakers around the venue, as well as on local TV stations.
Speaking to Doha News, Afif Charity’s marketing coordinator Tamer Hasabo explained that the money will go toward winter clothes, food baskets, healthcare and shelter for Syrians in need.
Housing includes tents large enough to fit a family. These will come with beds, pillows, blankets, bedding sheets and a fireplace, among other things.
“This is not like any fundraiser because unlike others that usually take place, this one is considered an urgent relief. Aleppo in this case is crying out for help and we are trying to meet their needs and heed their call,” Hasabo said.
“Hopefully after the campaign ends, we will have accomplished one of the largest urgent relief projects so far,” he added.
Proceeds from items sold at Darb Al Saai, including at food stalls, were also reportedly collected for the campaign.
‘My favorite’ QND
While last night’s event was originally scheduled to end at 10pm, donations along with live broadcasting continued late into the night due to a large response from the public.
جانب من مشاركة إخواننا من الصم والبكم لحملة #حلب_لبيه #درب_الساعي pic.twitter.com/2hTMF85Yst
— اليوم الوطني لدولة قطر (@NDQatar) December 18, 2016
Though most QND celebrations, including the annual morning parade on the Corniche and fireworks at night, were called off, many people didn’t appear to mind.
Speaking to Doha News at Darb Al Saai, 23-year-old Palestinian expat Sara Abbas said that this year’s National Day has so far been her favorite.
“Seeing this makes me so happy and proud to be living here. I usually spend National Day in my bed and I never leave the house. This is the first time I actually do something both useful and rewarding on Dec. 18.”
Donations will continue to be collected over the next couple of days. For more on how to help the people of Aleppo, see our guide here.