Ramadhan to see donations paid at counter

Ramadhan to see donations paid at counter

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Ramadhan is a perfect time for Muslims to share, especially with the needy.

But new instructions from Governor-elect Fauzi Bowo to avoid giving to beggars — whose number usually multiplies as Idul Fitri draws near — doesn’t make it easy for generous hearts.

Following the instructions, on Monday the City Council banned donations to street musicians, street children and beggars.

Meanwhile, non-profit donation organizer Dompet Dhuafa and state-run Badan Amil Zakat Nasional (Baznas) have teamed up with Hypermart and Hero to offer a non-traditional giving opportunity. Donations for the poor will be accepted at check-out counters across Greater Jakarta, expanding the definition of one-stop shopping.

"It is the second year we will cooperate with Hypermart to help Muslims who wish to give alms," Dompet Dhuafa president Rahmat Riyadi said at a program launch event at Hypermart’s Jakarta City Center outlet in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.

The program is on at Hypermart’s 31 outlets nationwide where shoppers can give their alms to the cashier.

"The amount of the alms appears on the sales receipt. It’s transparent and involves no fees or taxes …. We hope people will be encouraged to donate more," said Carmelito J. Regalado, director of merchandising and marketing of PT Matahari Putra Prima, which owns Hypermart.

In the same program last year, Hypermart collected Rp 224 million (US$26,000) from 25 outlets nationwide.

Rahmat said the program would encourage concerned people to contribute to activities aimed at alleviating poverty. While there is some disagreement among state institutions as to income statistics, poverty is perceived to be a serious issue in the country.

"The money collected in the fund-raising program will go to shelters for street children and scholarships for the children of poor families," he said.

Baznas and Dompet Dhuafa also cooperate with other shopping malls, banks, restaurants, fast-food outlets, boutiques, hospitals and bookstores. They aim to facilitate payment of tithes by Muslims who usually pay in currency or in kind on the last day of fasting month.

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