A CITY restaurant boss has pledged to feed scores of homeless on Wearside to mark Ramadan.
Saif Chaudhry, who owns new business Monsoon Kitchen in Monkwearmouth, has promised that for every meal bought during the month of Ramadan, he will make a meal for a homeless person.
Saif is now on the hunt for charities to benefit from the pledge, which could see hundreds of homeless being fed for free.
The businessman says that, as well as observing the charity side of Ramadan, he hopes that the initiative will raise more awareness on Wearside of what the Islamic holy month entails.
“People think Ramadan is just about fasting, but it’s also about taking a step back and thinking about what you have. It’s a time of reflection.
“One of the most important reasons we fast is so that we can try to experience what life is like for those who are less fortunate than us. There are people all around the world who, unlike us, don’t have the luxury of being able to break their fast with a big, hearty meal. Their fast is continuous.”
It’s this aspect of Ramadan, which is observed by Muslims across the world, that inspired Saif to come up with the charity project.
Traditional Indian food prepared by Saif and business partners Hussain Chaudhry and Amir Riaz has proved popular since they transformed the former casino in North Bridge Street into a handi house restaurant last month.
The Ramadan fast, which is observed from sunrise to sunset, means Saif can’t eat any of the food, which he prepares using Halal ingredients, during the day, but he says he’s used to forgoing meals at this time of year. “You start observing Ramadan from puberty, so I’m used to it now,” he said. “But it means I can’t taste the food I’m preparing, so one of our kitchen staff, who is Pakistani Christian, has doubled up as food taster for the month.”
To further mark Ramadan, anyone who eats at the restaurant after sunset during the month, can receive a 20 per cent discount on their bill.
Saif said: “We’re a new business, so it’s a way of letting people know we’re here, but we want to do anything we can to help the community. Giving to charity is part of our faith, and it’s something we feel really strongly about.”
Saif will prepare his banquet for the homeless during the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan around August 8.
l Any homeless charities interested in hosting the free Monsoon Kitchen banquet for the homeless can email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 514 4222.