ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Turkey’s Diyanet Foundation on Friday handed out thousands of food packets to needy people in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa as part of charity activities during the holy month of Ramadan.

“Today, we are distributing 1,500 packs of food aid and yesterday, we distributed 30 tons of food aid as well,” Turkish Ambassador to Ethiopia Yaprak Alp told Anadolu Agency.

“Turkey has always been a very good friend of Ethiopia; and both countries stood by each other in difficult times and again today the world is facing difficult times with the COVID-19 crisis especially. Ethiopia also has the locust problem on top of that,” Alp said.

“So Turkey feels that it should be helping our centuries-old friend, Ethiopia,” she said. “So the past week we’ve stepped up our efforts; we brought in 1.7 tons of hygienic materials that we gave to the minister of youth.”

The ambassador said Turkey will continue supporting Ethiopia in the days to come.

Smiles

It is a cold morning and the premises of a mosque at the town of Sebeta, just outside of Addis Ababa in Oromia region, is filled by Muslim men, women and children waiting for their turns to take a packet containing edible oil, rice, flour, Macaroni.

A sense of cheering filled the atmosphere as each beneficiary donning face masks and gloves pick up the heavy packet – sometimes with the help of the Diyanet officers – and return to their homes.

Fetiya Liba is a mother of seven – all children living under her care, even though, according to her, neither she nor her husband has a regular work.

“We sometimes do some weird jobs to earn a living, sometimes we sell Qat [a leafy mild stimulant which is popular in Ethiopia], but our income […] has never been enough to feed our family,” she said.

“Today, this Turkish organization gave us food for Ramadan and we will smile our ways home,” she said.

Cemil Alici, religious services advisor at the Turkish embassy, said 1,250 packets of food have been given out in Sebeta town, with an additional 200 packets at a nearby Ayer Tena area and 50 packets to refugees from Sudan.

Turkey invested more than $6 billion in various sectors in Africa.

“We have always had very strong historical and emotional attachment to Africa,” Ambassador Alp said.

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