By Annisa Essack
Mogamat Allie Manuel, a Heideveld businessman has been sharing the Ramadaan spirit and uniting his community by feeding the less privileged out of his own pocket.
In just two weeks the crowd went from “40 to 400!” Now, more than 500 residents are being fed, every Wednesday evening at his home, sitting at tables on small stools. The meal consists of lamb akhni, traditional boeber, bollas, koeksusters, samoosas, daltjies and fruit for iftaar.
Manuel, says this is his opportunity to please the Almighty as he has been favoured by His mercy and grace.
Last March, he was brought to his knees, when his successful recycling business, Allie’s Recycling, took a major knock. Four of his five plants closed down and the family of five lost almost everything, including their home in Surrey Estate, and had to move into the new Heideveld housing scheme with almost nothing.
The father of three was forced to relook at his life and this drove him to begin helping others.
Since the first day of Ramadaan, Manuel and his family have started feeding people meals in the area, using what little money he makes from his remaining recycling plant.
“I think it was just a message from God. The moment I started feeding people, things in my life just got better. My business is starting up again and the more I serve the community, the better things seem to get,” he says happily.
At first, the family stood outside their home and fed between 20 to 40 people, but when he saw that there was a real need in his community and soon began feeding over 400 people at a time.
His initiative has brought back a sense of community with people getting to know each other and communicating and helping more. Manuel says that the community has grown, simply by caring. Coming together has also made the community safer too. Manuel employs women in the community to prepare the meals giving much-needed jobs but more importantly respect to many.
“I’m going to do this every day of my life now. Giving has given me so much.”