As the Holy Month of Ramadan approaches, it is the perfect opportunity to learn more about Islamic traditions, in particular, the spirit of giving.
Ramadan is a month of reflection, humility and caring for others. For non-Muslim expats, there are wonderful opportunities to embrace the spirit of the Holy Month, through practicing the values of tolerance, gratitude and compassion. We can involve our children in charitable acts, teaching them that all of us have the ability to bring happiness to those less fortunate. By involving them directly in Ramadan initiatives, they will understand the value of giving, and the different circumstances of others.
Here are a few ways they can participate:
Ramadan Sharing Fridges (Dubai)
One of the easiest ways that children can participate is through stocking the public fridges for the labour community. This initiative began in 2016, and operates under the patronage of the Emirates Red Crescent and the IACAD. Have your children help choose and purchase food and drinks (water, juice, laban, fruit and vegetables, packaged biscuits/cake, and fresh milk – note: no cooked food) and take it to one of the many fridges dotted about Dubai. Further details and an interactive map will be available on the Facebook page: Ramadan/Sharing Fridges in the UAE.
‘Share a Touch of Love this Ramadan’ is an annual campaign held by OMO and Comfort (in partnership with the Emirates Red Crescent), inviting the public to donate clothes to help those in need. Have your kids pick out clothes they no longer wear, explaining to them that some children have to wear the same clothes every day, and how much a little girl or boy will love receiving their clean clothing. Drop the clothes into one of the various collection boxes in malls, schools and other places across the UAE. For donation points, please see https://www.omo.com/sa/en/share-a-touch-of-love-this-ramadan
Donate toys and other essential items
Many registered charitable organisations place collection boxes in public places throughout Ramadan, encouraging people to donate essential items such as school supplies, books, toys and non-perishable food items. Encourage your children to sort through their toys and books, or take them shopping to choose items, and drop them off together.
Gifts of Appreciation
Have you a gardener, cleaner or security guard who you see regularly? Have your child put together a package with toiletries, groceries and a few treats! Everyone loves to feel appreciated and noticed, and the direct exchange is pleasant for both parties. If there are workers near your home, you can give water, dates or snacks to them as Iftar arrives.
Teach your children how to exchange Ramadan greetings, especially at the start of the month. The most commonly used greeting is ‘Ramadan Kareem,’ which means they are wishing people a generous Ramadan. It is a good opportunity to instill a sense of empathy and compassion in our children, and to teach them that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted!
Please note: organised initiatives must be in co-operation with licensed charity associations.