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Members of Bahrain’s diverse community have been finding their own ways of giving back and assisting in the fight against the global Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
While all businesses in the kingdom have seen a dramatic loss of revenue, Bahraini businesses like Jamal Showaiter Sweets are contributing through donations of products, property and services, where possible.
Jamal Showaiter Sweets, a hallmark of Bahrain traditional sweets for the last 30 years, has been distributing its halwa, distakia, simsamia and other sweets and goods in the quarantine centres and at the Bahrain International Airport, to those being tested and treated for Covid-19.
Fuad Mohamed Alrayes, chairman of Jamal Showaiter Sweets, said: “This is our opportunity to give back to the kingdom, which has given and supported us in countless ways through the years. We have been providing some of our products, in small individual packaging, to the quarantine area in Sitra as well as the test waiting lounge at the airport.
“While Bahrain continues to do an exemplary job of containing the virus, testing and treating cases, this is our small way of supporting the task force and directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier.
“We cannot count the ways Bahrain’s government has made our success over the years possible by providing security, stability and a tourist-friendly environment. Most recently, they granted us a 10,000sqm parcel of land as well as a BD1 million loan to build a new household food products factory in the Bahrain International Investment Park that will export many food products, including traditional Bahraini sweets, internationally.”
Jamal Showaiter Sweets, co-owned by Fuad, Jamal Showaiter and Abdul Majeed Theruvath, operates 20 shops and three production centres across the kingdom. It has seen a 97pc decrease in business over the last month due to closed regional and international borders.
In addition to sweets, the company donated the use of their newly constructed building in Gufool last week to the Ministry of Health for use during the crisis as the Ministry sees fit.
Abdul added: “We contacted the ministry and sent an official memo last week. While we had been thinking about it for a few weeks, seeing Shaikh Salman bin Ali Al Khalifa’s contribution galvanised our response. The ministry hasn’t visited the property or officially gotten back to us, but we hope that the property can be put to good use, in whatever way possible. And we also want to encourage other businesses and community members to contribute however possible.”
Last week, Sarkco Group chairman Shaikh Salman bin Ali Al Khalifa handed over the group’s 10-storey hotel in Juffair with 162 rooms to the Executive Committee, headed by HRH the Crown Prince.
In comments to our sister newspaper GDN, Shaikh Salman said: “It is our national duty to support the government committee. I request businessmen and merchants to join the national campaign to combat Covid-19.”
Fun activities at home
While businesses have been doing their part to assist in the national campaign to combat Covid-19, private individuals and not-for-profit organisations have been coming up with ways to keep Bahrain’s residents and citizens occupied from the safety of one’s own home, after the government issued guidelines for social distancing that encourage everyone to stay at home as much as possible. Here are some of our picks!
u The Manama Theatre Club (MTC) and its members put out a seven to 10-minute video every day as part of their “In the Living Room with MTC” series. Each video introduces (and sometimes re-introduces) children and stuck-at-home ‘netizens’ to a fun activity. Activities so far have included dramatic readings and games. Follow them on Instagram @mtcbahrain to enjoy the videos.
u Toastmasters clubs across the kingdom, including Manama Toastmasters, are conducting their meetings virtually and guests are welcome to join. Visit http://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club?q=Bahrain and contact your local club for more information.
u Vihangam Yoga is conducting free breathing exercises and meditation sessions daily from 5:30pm to 6pm, and on the weekends at 8am and 8:45am. Follow them on Instagram @VYBahrain for more information.