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National Day 2013

There will be no parade on the Corniche this morning or fireworks at night to mark Qatar National Day.

Instead, charity boxes are being set up across the country to help people who are suffering in Syria as the humanitarian situation there deteriorates even further.

And officials in Qatar are urging residents to show their national pride by donating money, jewelry and even vehicles to the cause.


Donation campaign

Though most celebrations, including organized activities at the Museum of Islamic Art and at Asian Town, have been called off, there are still a few things going on around town.

Aleppo theme

This includes an operetta on Aleppo at Katara Cultural Village’s amphitheater this afternoon.

The performance, which is at 4pm and aimed at children, will include the participation of several Qatari artists.

Later on in the evening, five local charities will host a fundraising campaign at Darb Al Saai. The event kicks off at 7pm in the flagpole area of the Al Sadd grounds.

According to the Peninsula, 100 charity boxes have been installed at Darb, with Qatar Charity, Eid Charity, Qatar Red Crescent Society, Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) and Afif Charity all participating.

“All types of donations are welcome such as vehicles, money, and jewelry. We will continue receiving donations as long as there are people to donate, and there is no specific time frame,” an organizer told the newspaper.

More information on how to help with the relief effort can be found here.

What are your plans for today? Thoughts?

Qatar Red Crescent Society

The Qatar Red Crescent bringing aid to Aleppo earlier this year

On the heels of the Emir canceling Qatar National Day celebrations out of solidarity with people in Aleppo, many are asking how they can help Syrians in need.

One easy way in Qatar is to eat at restaurants in Katara Cultural Village and the Aspire Zone over the next three days.

This includes places like Mamig, Khan Farouk and Ard Canaan at Katara; and Sugar and Spice, Burgeri and Salad Boutique at Aspire.

All income generated on Dec. 15, 16, 17 from these restaurants will go toward helping Aleppo, the general manager of Katara has pledged.

Charitable giving

Additionally, many Qatar-based charities are still working in Syria and have been seeking financial donations to provide humanitarian aid there.

They include the Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF), Qatar Charity, Eid Charity and Qatar Red Crescent.

Together with 20 other humanitarian organizations working in Syria, they released a hard-hitting statement yesterday.

In it, they call on the UN to “fulfill its humanitarian obligations” by intervening to prevent “massacres and crimes against humanity” in the country.

Charity appeals

All four of the Qatar charities are running appeals designed to help people in Aleppo, as well as those spending the winter under canvas in refugee camps.

Here’s what they’re doing, and how you can donate:

Qatar Charity

The charity’s #Syriacoldandhunger campaign aims to feed, clothe and equip families to help them survive the winter.

Donations will go toward tents, caravans, winter clothing, blankets, baskets and family hygiene items, ingredients to run bakeries and kitchens, medical equipment, medical tool kits, ambulances and medicines.

A donation of QR200 will pay for a “food basket” and includes basic supplies that will last a family for a month. Meanwhile a hygiene kit for a family containing bathing soap, washing powder, toothpaste and toothbrushes and costs QR150.

You can either donate online or via SMS by sending the word “Syria” to 92632 to donate QR50, to 92642 to donate QR100, to 92428 to donate QR500 or to 92429 to donate QR1,000.

You can also phone the campaign hotline 44667711.

Raf Foundation

RAF’s campaign “The Winter of Mercy: Let’s Grow Warmth in Their Hearts” is aimed at collecting QR19 million in donations to provide basic necessities to 120,000 families in Syria and Iraq.

Food baskets, winter bags, caravan shelters and medicines will be donated to those who are displaced, and to refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.

Raf foundation campaign video (Arabic):

Donations can be made online, or by sending the text message “2” to 92648 to donate QR50 to Syrian refugees.

Contributors may also call RAF’s hotline at 55341818.

Eid Charity

This NGO is running a “Before the Cold Gets Them” campaign to help around 300,000 people in Syria and Iraq.

The charity plans to donate QR20 million to Aleppo and other provinces in Syria, and QR15 million to help those in Mosul and other affected areas in Iraq.

Some of the donations will go toward caravan shelters, food baskets, warm meals, children’s milk, tents and tent renovations.

Winter bags will also be given to adults (QR250 per person) and children (QR200). These will include: a pair of pants, coat, wool clothes, gloves, earmuffs, hat, socks, shoes and a shawl.

Donations can be made online, or you can call 40405555.

Qatar Red Crescent

During its “Warm Winter” campaign, QRCS is aiming to provide aid to 206,000 people with a total budget of QR10 million.

The campaign aims to help people in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and displaced refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.

However, the QRC is now appealing on Twitter for donations to tackle the immediate needs of people fleeing Aleppo:

The money raised will cover main necessities such as warm winter clothing, blankets, electric heaters, fuel and covers, as well as medical supplies and emergency vehicles.

You can donate online, by calling +16002, or by sending an SMS to 92766 to donate QR100, 92770 to donate QR500 or 92740 to donate QR1000.

Other international organizations

You can also help by donating to Syria Civil Defense (aka the White Helmets) here, and Medicins Sans Frontieres, which is supporting medical clinics in Aleppo, here.

This article also has some good suggestions of further charities abroad that would welcome your help.

Does anyone else have any suggestions? Thoughts?


Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

Qatar’s Emir has ordered the cancellation of all National Day celebrations out of solidarity with the people of Aleppo, QNA reports.

Many are taking this to mean the parade on the Corniche on Sunday morning and the fireworks scheduled for the evening will no longer take place.

Additionally, plans are afoot to cancel Asian Town celebrations and there are reports that various tribes will no longer be performing Arda dances at Darb Al Saai.

‘Shame on us’

This week, rebel forces lost control of Aleppo after government-backed soldiers moved in.

Qatar Charity / Twitter

A destroyed neighborhood in Aleppo

Many people in the town posted heart-breaking messages on social media pleading for help and bidding farewell to all.

Yesterday, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Al Jazeera that the humanitarian situation in the war-torn city was “catastrophic.”

“We need to do something to protect civilians there. And the problem is, the international community’s response to that appears that it’s failed.

It’s a shame on all of us, that we cannot do anything and we find ourselves handcuffed, that we cannot deliver anything for the Syrian people.”


This isn’t the first time Qatar has scaled back celebrations over regional politics.

In 2014, Katara and Souq Waqif canceled Eid Al Fitr festivities out of solidarity with Gaza, after more than 775 people were killed during an intense, 17-day Israeli bombing campaign.

And two years before that, culture festivals were canceled “against the backdrop of the current political developments across the Arab region.”