Memories of Ramadan in Syria

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19 hour fasts during the summer months may sound daunting to many, but for millions of Muslims across the world, the month of Ramadan has been eagerly awaited. The beautiful sense of self reflection, devotion, and community spirit and generosity makes the 19 hour fasts worthwhile for Muslims across the world. What makes Ramadan special for so many, is the concept of sharing our blessings and showing compassion for those who are less fortunate.

Before the war, markets in Syria would light up during the holy month, streets filled with decorations, lights and vendors selling sweets and food, even mosques would sparkle with special lights. A culture of great hospitality and generosity, houses would be filled with family and friends eagerly awaiting the sun to set, to eat. Deserts were made at home – pastries stuffed with walnuts or pistachios, most of which was hurriedly given out to family, friends and those less fortunate before sunset. A time of social solidarity, Muslim – Christian events where held in the infamous Azem Palace where hymns and nasheeds were sung to large audiences.

But since 2011, Syria’s special Ramadan charm has been largely lost as hunger and great sadness casts a dark, depressing shadow over the country.

Dinner tables filled with traditional Syrian Ramadan dishes such as lentil soup, borek, and vine leafs stuffed with minced meat and rice are no longer commonplace. Now, millions of families who have been forced from their homes are struggling to find food for their children. There is now an 800 percent rise in the price of bread, leaving families no option but to rely on handouts from charities. An estimated 83 percent of Syrians live below the poverty line. A monthly food ration with staple items costs at least 80 percent of an unskilled labourer’s monthly salary and 50 to 80 per cent of a public service employee’s monthly salary.

Before the war, Syria welcomed more refugees than any other country. Once a country of such giving, they are now the ones in need.

This Ramadan, we are located in areas where most charities cannot reach, distributing hot meals, water and food parcels to families who do not have the means to eat this Ramadan. £250 will provide five families with food packs containing a selection of staple ingredients needed to prepare balanced meals for iftar and shuhoor this Ramadan. The lack of reliable, clean water in Syria is particularly worrying during the month of Ramadan and often goes unnoticed as other charities focus mainly on food. With a donation as little as £10 you can provide clean water for a family of five for the month of Ramadan.

Facing a daily fight for survival due to poverty, famine, disasters and conflict, the people of Syria are in dire need of support. We will be working long hours this month making sure thousands of families across Syria you can heal lives in Syria this month.

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