As soon as iftar ends every evening, a dedicated team of 15 young volunteers swing into action. Their aim: To pick date seeds from the waste. These are the members of the Dawoodi Bohra community of Ajman, embracing an innovative method to brew discarded date seeds into a healthy and eco-friendly substitute for coffee.

Leading the charge is 13-year-old Taher Hamed who, along with his friends, makes his way through the rows of Hakimi Masjid in Ajman. With baskets in hand, Taher and his friends scan the floors for discarded date seeds left behind after iftar.

For these young volunteers, this practice marked the beginning of a transformative journey.

“The teachings of Sultan al Bohra Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin inspire us to find value in waste,” said Taher as he recounted the community's commitment to sustainability.

“These date seeds are overlooked and discarded into the waste bin after the consumption ,” he added.

The first step involves the collection of date seeds after iftar. These seeds are then carefully sorted, washed and dried before being baked at a certain temperature. Once the seeds have gone through these processes, they are then ground into a fine powder, much like coffee beans, to produce a caffeine-free coffee alternative with the essence of dates.

The resulting drink offers a unique taste and is sometimes preferred for its health benefits and as an alternative to regular coffee for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake.

Date seed coffee is also rich in antioxidants and has been researched for its potential health benefits, which include anti-inflammatory properties.

The journey from discarded seeds to aromatic date seed powder is a process requiring two to three days of patience, dedication, and mostly a deep commitment to food and environmental sustainability. The date seed powder is given to community members for their personal use without any commercial motive.

Murtaza Kanchwala, coordinator of the Nazafat (cleanliness) volunteer team in Ajman, said, “Daily, approximately 800 grams to 1 kilogram of date seeds are collected from the Ajman community center alone, highlighting the scale and impact of this initiative. Their collective efforts ensure that each step, from seed collection and distribution to holding sessions to educate people about the importance of reducing food waste, is executed seamlessly,”

“Beyond its environmental implications, this initiative by our volunteers, as part of the community environmental body Burhani Foundation, underscores Dawoodi Bohra’s continued dedication to promoting a healthy and sustainable way of life. By embracing such unique ideas and alternatives, we are demonstrating that small, consistent steps can yield large, positive change,” he added.

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