A sweet donation for war-torn Palestine

Former Merebank resident, Ajith Sathanand, the head of operations at a bakery in Jordan, has been making waves on social media after donating 100 000 cupcakes to the people of Palestine

Ajith Sathanand's production team with their completed and boxed cupcakes, ready to be delivered to the people of Palestine. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 7, 2023

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FORMER Merebank resident, Ajith Sathanand, the head of operations at a bakery in Jordan, has been making waves on social media after donating 100 000 cupcakes to the people of Palestine.

Sathanand, a manufacturing manager by profession, said he had been working in Jordan for the past four years.

“After leaving Premier Foods in Durban, I relocated to Saudi Arabia in 2012 as a manufacturing manager for the Almarai Bakery. In 2019, I joined the Alyoum Bakery in Jordan where I run the operations,” he said.

Sathanand, 61, is married to his wife of 39 years, Usha. She lives in South Africa and occasionally visits him for the holidays.

The father of four children - Arisha, Kameel, Charlene and Serina and grandfather of Ayara, 5 and Kyrav, 3 - said his wife had inspired him to make the donation to the people of Palestine.

Ajith Sathanand and his wife, Usha, who he thanked for encouraging him to do the cupcake donation to Palestine as a charitable act. Picture: Supplied

“Since I run the operations of the bakery, I put the idea to my team. We then decided to donate 100 000 chocolate and red velvet cupcakes to the people of Palestine,” said Sathanand.

He said he lived in Amman and worked at the bakery which was based in the Hallabat region in Jordan.

“Palestine is about 80 kilometres away from the bakery. That is like travelling from Durban to just before Empangeni. From where I work, we can hear the bombs and missiles as and when it happens. We can also see the thick smoke in the sky from buildings that are burning,” Sathanand said.

“We had to deliver the cupcakes at the border and then it was transported to Palestine, led by the military forces. We didn’t go to the border ourselves. We hired a driver with a horse and trailer. He is from Palestine and regularly makes trips between Jordan and Palestine.

“It is safer this way because he is familiar with the territory and no-one would suspect anything sinister. If we sent an outsider, it would cause a problem. He took it to Palestine and we our people where they could find the cupcakes.”

Sathanand said he was not active on Facebook and was surprised to see the hype and positive comments about their “sweet” contribution.

“My family and friends sent me screenshots of what people were saying on social media. All the comments were so positive. The comments also related to me being a Hindu and doing this for the Muslim community. But it’s not new to me. My family has a long tradition of being involved in charity, even now in South Africa.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about the colour of your skin or your religion. It's about doing something good for the sake of humanity.”

He said he was happy to continue working in Jordan and did not have any immediate plans to return home to South Africa.