Photo credit: Canadian Foodgrains Bank

Zakaria’s tuk-tuk is back

Every morning, Zakaria Amsheh would go out into the city streets of Beirut, Lebanon and sell coffee and tea from his tuk-tuk, a small, three-wheeled motorized vehicle. After a full day’s work, he would come home to his wife and three young children.

After the August 4th explosion in the port of Beirut, his life changed completely.

All of his family members suffered minor injuries in the blast. His windows were blown out and his doors were destroyed. His tuk-tuk was damaged and his livelihood came to a halt.

Zakaria didn’t have the means to make the repairs on his home, and without his tuk-tuk, he didn’t have the income he needed to feed his family.

He became increasingly worried about the family’s food situation. They were forced to start eating smaller portions, or to skip meals entirely.

Supported by the generosity of Canadian donors, and a matching fund from the Government of Canada, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) – member of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank – worked with local partners to distribute food boxes to families in Karantina where Zakaria lives, and two other areas.

“It is so big that it is fully able to support my family for a whole month,” says Zakaria, who describes the food parcel as a blessing, and a relief.

Zakaria says that the food boxes have not only kept his children from going hungry, they have had an overall positive impact on his mental health.

Local charities helped Zakaria fix the windows in his home and put up a door. Another charity replaced the umbrella for his tuk-tuk.

Slowly, Zakaria’s life is coming back together, for him and his family. He has even taken his tuk-tuk back out into the streets of Karantina to sell coffee once more.