Sunday 10, January 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Choithrams, a leading supermarket chain in Dubai, concluded the first year of its alliance with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with a generous donation of AED1.2 million to support children and families suffering from hunger and malnutrition in the Middle East and West Africa.
Choithrams and WFP joined hands last year with the objective of fighting hunger and malnutrition in the Middle East and West Africa, where the company operates. Through this partnership, the leading supermarket supported WFP’s operations in the Middle East and West Africa with a first contribution of AED918,287 and raised AED354,362 from customers across all its supermarkets in Dubai. A ceremony was held earlier today in one of the stores to celebrate the first year of this collaboration; the success of their first in-store fundraising campaign and all those – Choithrams staff and customers – who made it possible.
Commenting on the partnership, LT Pagarani, Chairman-Choithrams, said, “Hunger is everyone’s business because it robs the potential of vulnerable children and communities. We are proud to partner with the WFP and encourage everyone to join us in the fight against malnutrition and help achieve a world with zero hunger”.
Thanking Choithrams’ management, staff and customers, Abdallah Al-Wardat, Director -WFP Office, UAE, stated, “We have all gathered here today because we share a belief: that access to food is vital to full futures and that a world with zero hunger is indeed possible. A world where all children, women and men get the food they need to fulfil their full potential and live happily and peacefully. And if that world is possible, we owe it to the next generation to join forces and do what it takes to make it happen.”
As the largest humanitarian organisation fighting hunger worldwide, WFP delivers food assistance in emergencies and works with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience in the long term. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.
Choithrams’ first-year contribution will help WFP provide crucial food assistance to Syrian refugee families who fled the conflict and left everything behind to find shelter in Jordan. The donation will allow WFP to distribute 3,321 month-long food vouchers that can be redeemed in registered stores in the Zaatri refugee camp, offering refugee families the chance to shop like any normal families, while supporting the Jordanian economy.
Choithrams is also making possible the daily distribution of locally-made school meals to 2,100 children in the region of Atacora in Benin for an entire year. These meals work as a powerful incentive for poor parents to send their daughters and sons to school. They provide children with a chance to grow strong and healthy, fulfil their true potential and pursue their dreams. Thanks to Choithrams, the 10 schools supported by this WFP project will be also be equipped with gardens and agricultural tools, water abduction will be improved wherever needed and children will be taught about hand washing and nutrition.
This initiative is supported by the International Humanitarian City in its efforts to bridge humanity through channeling corporate funds for the benefit of member humanitarian organisations such as WFP.
Choithrams involved its own staff and customers in this journey of solidarity through a ‘Zero Hunger’ campaign conducted in its supermarkets across Dubai between September and December 2015. Their customers in Dubai were invited to add a donation to their bill at checkout to support WFP’s School Meals Programme in the Middle East. They had a chance to donate 1, 5, 20 or 200 dirhams. Each dirham donated to WFP is sufficient to provide a nutritious meal to a schoolchild in need. In only four months, Choithrams customers donated enough to provide 354,362 nutritious meals to schoolchildren in need in the Middle East.
“The response was overwhelming”, said LT Pagarani. “I would like to express our deep gratitude to the valuable customers and staff for their dedication towards the cause. Their support will make a tangible difference in the lives of children and we heartedly thank them for their generosity”.