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Gifts of warmth

January 11 - January 17 ,2023
Gulf Weekly Gifts of warmth
Gulf Weekly Gifts of warmth
Gulf Weekly Gifts of warmth

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

A call has gone out to donate and collect warm winter clothing for less-fortunate labourers, for whom such necessary attire is often a luxury, by a local group of hard-working volunteers.

OneHeartBahrain, an unregistered, not-for-profit community organisation, launched their annual winter campaign on January 2 and it runs until January 17.

“The aim of this campaign is to give a little warmth to others and coming together as one family of people, by considering how they may be experiencing the colder months, especially in cases where people are lacking the funds to purchase winter clothing and blankets,” OneHeartBahrain founder Birthe van der Heijden told GulfWeekly.

“This is necessary because many of the workers in Bahrain are not adequately provided for during the winter months.”

Blankets and male adult winter clothing, including jackets, body warmers, hats, scarves, gloves, trousers, jumpers, hoodies, long-sleeved tops/t-shirts can be dropped off at the Bahrain Rugby Football Club (BRFC) between 7am and 11pm.

All clothing must be washed prior to donation.

The campaign was launched after the organisation spoke with labourers from different backgrounds. They learned that labourers are in dire need of warm gear during the winter, since most of them are not provided any by their employers.

“If they are lucky enough to work under contract, they will often receive a bed, mattress, pillow and one ‘all-year-round’ blanket,” Birthe explained.

“If this blanket is worn or damaged, they try to fix it by sewing it back together by hand. Regarding winter clothing, they are usually responsible for purchasing this themselves. If they have the funds to purchase winter items like a jacket or hoodie, long trousers and socks, they often have only one winter outfit. And whilst they are working, they remove their jumper to try and protect their clothing from getting damaged or ripped.

“This leaves them much more exposed to the cold, impacting their health and increasing the risk of winter flu and colds. Because these workers generally have family members back home to support financially, they usually keep very little money for themselves, and therefore clothing is often a luxury that they cannot afford to spend much money on if they have enough in the first place.”

The collected winter clothing will be distributed, alongside a warm meal, to a group of 208 labourers who have recently suffered salary delays and are currently only receiving half their wages.

OneHeartBahrain regularly runs reuse-reduce-recycle campaigns to ‘promote redistribution of wealth through recycling of goods’. They also provide food aid to struggling individuals, families and labour camps.

Their next campaign in February will hopefully focus on bringing greenery to labour camps, providing shade and relaxation, especially during the hotter months.

“We are looking for a labour camp whose owner will allow us to enhance the beauty of the camp by letting us plant some greenery there for the labourers to enjoy and to provide some shade in hotter months,” Birthe added.

“Planting would be at no cost to the owner as we would raise donations for soil, plants, trees, and other materials ourselves and planting would be organised through volunteer capacity.”

The winter campaign runs until January 17.

For more details, follow @oneheartbahrain on Instagram.

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