Nineteen-year-old university student Huma Mohammed’s 12-year-old younger brother Nizar observed fast for the first time this year. “The challenge was not to make him realise the importance and the endurance required while fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. The real challenge was to teach him the importance of giving,” said Huma.
She added: “We took him to a few charities and mosques to teach him what the holy month really means.”
This Ramadan, the youth in UAE are doing their bit to encourage their peers and elders to contribute their bit to the society. Youth groups are taking active initiatives to encourage youth involvement in social work around the city during the holy month of Ramadan.
Take popular youth group The Republic for example. The youngsters conduct a monthly round to construction sites to hand out simple eateries to workers.
The initiative called Tawiyah, a helping hand, has gained a lot of attention from university students and has touched over 800 workers and labourers around the city. Their latest project in association with popular café, Tea Junction, on Saturday, July 21, provided 660 workers with Iftar essentials such as biscuits, juice, dates, apples and water. The Republic is currently looking to expand its volunteer base and invites more students and organisations to be involved in this good cause, especially during Ramadan.
The head of the community service department at The Republic, Rahul Om, emphasises the need for students to be directly involved in social work projects. “Tawiyah is a way for students to directly interact with construction workers and understand their plight rather than just contributing to an unfamiliar charity,” says the 19-year-old university student.
The project involves volunteers from The Republic and their university networks to go to sites personally to hand out goodies. Shanil, owner of Tea Junction and also the sponsor of The Republic’s latest Tawiyah initiative, said that the project was highly appealing to him as “it is very inspiring to see students take up such a social responsibility during the holy month. Tea Junction has always been a support to such initiatives and causes.” Adding to her previous comments, Huma said: “This time Ramadan has fallen during the summer months. It does make fasting a lot harder than usual. But the most important thing that the holy month teaches you is endurance and the ability to give to those in need.”
A Dubai-resident banker Suhail Junaid (23) said: “When you come to the mosque to pray after you break your fast and see people distribute food and other items. Personally, I think people are a little opulent here, because you can see a lot of food being wasted. People must learn to avoid that.”
Certain non-Muslims who attempted to fast this Ramadan stated that even though the first few days are difficult, after a while it becomes easy.
“It leaves you feeling very peaceful. Observing Iftar among my Muslim brothers and sisters was a big learning experience for me,” said 20-year-old Indian national Nathan Joy.