With World Philanthropy Day and World Kindness Day happening side by side this November, let’s turn the spotlight on an organization in Riyadh that is truly showing us that charity and kind acts, no matter how small can truly go a long way…
Fact: Arab generosity is the stuff of legends. Stories of Bedouins killing their most valued livestock to feed a wayward traveler are numerous and remnants of the three-day hospitality to any guest rule still survive in this day and age. Coupled with the Islam, which greatly encourages compassion and charity, it’s no wonder Saudis are no strangers to helping the less fortunate.
And there is no better example to showcase this than Bunyan. A charity organization founded by dedicated ladies of the society in 2011 and run by volunteers, Bunyan focuses primarily on helping impoverished families develop and progress into an economically independent state through the females of the family. Where there was a problem, Bunyan DIYed a solution. And that is what makes them stand out, in our humble opinion.
How can you help?
Listed below are the main activities and programs Bunyan offers:
Souk Alataa (the market of giving)
One of our recommended places to score a bargain, Souk Alataa is Bunyan’s aim to recycle and resell the branded donated clothes and wares they receive to better benefit their families. It’s held once every three months in Bunyan’s HQ and has everything from used Chanel bags and Karen Millen shoes to the odd tailored vintage dress or two.
Home Healthcare Giver Program:
The HHGP was designed by Bunyan’s education panel to train young males and females to take care of the elderly and patients with special needs. It’s a six-month program that provides an upgrade in the students’ education and at the same time fulfills the need for Saudi and Arabic speaking caregivers who will be more suitable in understanding their patient’s needs and requests.
Tuhat Bunyan (Bunyan’s Chefs)
They make great pickles and hot sauce. They also provide catering for an entire buffet with a menu of authentic Saudi dishes. The cooks are from the families and have been trained in various training programs and proceeds from a certain dish or a condiment jar go directly to the woman who made it.
Another great idea, Fikra links talented Saudi designers with women from the families who have a knack for handicrafts but a lack of directive. The Saudi designers then work on building a brand with the ladies they supervise, which they then produce and sell.
Once a year, the organization folds up its sleeves and prepares for a festival with arts and crafts and other fun things for kids to be entertained with. The festival aims to spread awareness amongst the society’s children towards the less unfortunate and also serves as a fundraiser for the organization’s various efforts. This year, the festival hosted a van to be painted by the kids, which will then be used to ferry help and goods to the families.
On occasion, charity organizations can be treated as dumping grounds. Let’s be honest, how many times have we opened our closets or looked at the extra furniture in our living rooms and figured it would be better off as charity instead of in a dumpster, without inquiring about whether it would actually be put into use? There are only so many armchairs a poor person can validly use in their small apartment, after all. As a solution to this problem in an ecological manner, Bunyan decided to put new life into old pieces and sell them. Designers volunteering with the organization would choose the best candidates from the donated furniture and work on turning them into lovely modern pieces. Customization is also possible.
The organization accepts all and any donations regardless of the value, even five riyals goes a long way. They also let you specify where your donation can go, whether it be housing, zakat eid, towards free hajj, tafreej kurbah (immediate help for a person with dire problems), paying off loans or rents, towards the Islamic lending programs or any other form of giving you might be interested in.
Twitter and Instagram: @bunyancharity