Ration Challenge day 5: Ramadan on rations

As my brother, Shane, and I work our way through day five of Act for Peace’s Ration Challenge, I’ve been thinking a bit about people who are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan, which this year is taking place from 7 June–7 July. I don’t observe Ramadan myself, but many Muslims around the world are at the moment.

During Ramadan, many people of Muslim faith fast from before sunrise to after sunset, breaking their fasts with an Iftar dinner, usually spent with family and friends. They also use this time to pray and reflect regularly throughout the day. A lot of Muslims use Ramadan as a time to give back to their community, as showing love to each other pleases God. Last year I wrote about Ramadan here.

The Ration Challenge is this year focussed on Syrian refugees living in Jordan, and because 90% of Syrians are Islamic, many of them will be observing the holy month of Ramadan as we take up the challenge.

Through researching my article on Ramadan last year, I was invited to share in two Iftar dinners; one was a community dinner with the City of Canning, the other I shared with new friends in their home with my colleague, Andy Reavell, and my two children. We learnt that Ramadan is a spiritual journey, and it’s not meant to be easy.

In war-torn Syria, locals are not getting rest from violence during Ramadan. I’ve seen a range of articles in my Twitter feed highlighting violence in Syria during the holy month. Al Jazeera reported that 224 people were killed in Syria from conflict during the first week of Ramadan alone. This included 148 civilians, 50 of which were children. We’re now into week three of Ramadan.

Syrian refugees living in nearby countries, such as Jordan and Lebanon are feeling the strain of providing food for their families. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that 93% of Syrian refugees living in Jordan are under the poverty line and are struggling to find food all throughout the year. This becomes more challenging during the holy month, as breaking the fast during Ramadan is a communal event; time spent with family and friends.

So far, Shane and I together have raised $2166 for Act for Peace by taking part in the Ration Challenge! The money will go towards their projects which support people affected by conflict around the world. One of these projects is providing food rations to refugees living in camps.

Thanks so much to everyone who has donated so far. We really appreciate it!

There is still time to support us in the challenge.

To sponsor me visit https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au/fundraisers/heatherdowling.

To sponsor Shane visit https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au/fundraiser/shanedowling.

And to keep up to date with my experience throughout the challenge visit https://revivemagazine.org.au/category/ration-challenge-2016/.

Heather Dowling

Ps. Yesterday, or ‘hump day’, was kind of a hard one for me. By the end of the day I was feeling hungry, tired, headachey and just a bit miserable. The idea of cooking food from scratch was annoying and I felt a weird mix of gratitude and shame knowing that I only had three days of the challenge left.

After eating, and today, I feel much better! And even better still knowing that from all your sponsorship I’ve earned a reward of a luxury item of my choice. I’m not sure how I’ll use that yet, but I’ll keep you posted.


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