FREEZING HIDDEN POVERTY
Have you ever imagined what would happen if you put your fridge outside your house and opened it up to your neighborhood?
The story took off in May, when famous Saudi Muslim cleric Sheikh Mohamad al-Arefe posted about it on his Twitter account, along with a picture of the fridge. “I’ve always said the people of Hail are generous. A man puts a fridge outside his house for leftover food; an indirect act of charity for the needy”, he said.
The man’s identity remains anonymous, but his act of kindness is inspiring people all over the world. Sheikh al-Arefe’s tweet went viral almost instantly: he has 10 million followers on Twitter and his post was retweeted more than 7,000 times. He actually installed a large refrigerator on the street in front of his house for people to drop off food, and invited neighbors to donate anything they were going to otherwise throw away, so that hungry people could come and eat, sparing them the shame of begging.
The idea got many people thinking about what they could do to help in their own communities. For example, a blogger named Abdul Rahman predicted it would become “a widespread and decentralized global trend” and Salah, a Bahraini national, suggested the charity fridge concept be adopted in Bahrain during Ramadan, which began at the end of June.
Also in June, a Qatari family turned their words into actions when they stocked an outdoor fridge with free cold drinks for construction workers and others who work outside. This was a gratefully received gift considering the hellish temperatures in the country, where it can reach 44°C. They replenished the fridge’s stocks of water, laban (slightly salted yoghurt diluted with water and tamarind juice) and juice twice a day.