23 years old Furkan Gungor was born and raised in Cologne, Germany. He has gone to a country which most Germans wont be able to pinpoint on a map: Mauritania. Furkan volunteers as an observer for Hasene aid agency as part of their around-the-globe humanitarian work during Aid Al-Adha, one of the holiest holidays in Islam. The young Turkish-German is sacrificing 5 days from his annual vacation to distribute Adha meat to those in need. He is only one of the 450 Hasene observers in 112 countries on 4 continents besides countless local staff.
Cologne based NGO, Hasene was founded in 2010 and it has offices in 11 countries from Asia to Balkans, including many African countries. Last year, they collected over 170 thousand shares of livestocks for Aid al-Adha. Hasene turned into one of the biggest charities over the years, helping people from Mauritania to East Turkistan. “We will be distributing meat in places like Yemen and East Turkistan (Xincan region of China) but because of security conditions, instead if sending observers we work with only local staff in those places,” said the young director of Hasene, Mesut Gulbahar. This year, donations have been hovering a little under last year and the reason for it is the al-Adha holiday falls on vacation season in most German cities and many Turks prefer to carry out the practice in Turkey during vacation.
“I think we will still be able to catch 160 thousand shares. In total, our meat distribution will reach almost 4 million people in 112 countries on 4 continents. I think that is an amazing work,” said 40 years old Gulbahar.
Hasene reaches some remote regions in Asian and African countries where no other NGO dare to go. “It takes our observers some 20 hours to reach a country by flying but it even takes longer to get to the remote regions because of poor road conditions,” Gulbahar reiterated. He says Hasene provides training courses to its staff so they are well prepared for the tough conditions awaiting for them.
Furkan Gungor on the other hand will travel to different parts of Mauritania. He enjoys volunteering for Hasene instead of having regular vacations as other young people. He is engaged and plans to get married in the upcoming spring. And marriage wont prevent him from his charity work. “I will be coming back with my wife to help these less unfortunate people,” said Furkan with a joyful tone. It can happen to all of us. Our roles could be reversed one day he said.