Ramadan is considered the most sacred month of the year in the Islamic culture. Muslims all over the world fast from sunrise to sunset. It is a period of the year in which people are supportive to each other, and families gather and celebrate. Fasting is obligatory for adult Muslims. However, children try to fast some days during this month to feel that they are grownups.
In mid-Ramadan, children of Qudsaya village were very excited to go to the city centre of Damascus to participate in a voluntary activity with a Syrian charity team that prepares and distributes cooked meals for the displaced and poor families in Damascus vicinity.
Sitting next to the window in the bus taking them to the centre of Damascus, Youssef*, an 11 year-old-boy, was thinking whether the charity team members will be happy with their participation as his mother told him yesterday or not. He was afraid that when they arrive, everyone would be very busy with the preparations and no one will tell him what to do. Youssef and his sister started talking about the meal they would be cooking with the team, which helped him worry less but made him a little bit hungry, especially that he decided to fast that day like his friends Wael and Bilal.
As the bus arrived to destination, Youssef knew what he was going to do first. He was going to help handing the five boxes that they brought from the village to the charity team members. The day before, SOS mothers prepared different kinds of food and canned vegetables that Youssef and his friends packed in the boxes to give them to the team.
Youssef was feeling happy accomplishing his task of peeling potatoes. It was relieving for him that Mr. Osama, the charity team leader, was organizing everything and telling everyone what to do. Youssef realized for the first time the amount of work that a volunteering initiative requires.
He has always heard that Ramadan is not only about fasting but also about doing good to other people in need. Now he knows exactly what that means. “Mr. Osama, I feel sad that these meals will not be enough for all displaced people. What you are going to do for the others?” said Youssef with sad look on his face to the charity team leader, who replied: “Unfortunately, we cannot distribute the cooked meals to all families who are in need. However, there are other charities that work every day to help them and there are hundreds of volunteers like you who help them”. The answer made sense for Youssef, it is impossible for one charity to help everyone, but they certainly cooperate with other charities to help everyone.
At four o’clock in the afternoon, all meals were ready to be transported to areas where displaced families live. Youssef and his friends from the village accomplished their mission and headed back to the village, tired but very happy and proud for what they did. The children’s participation in the charity initiative was from their genuine will to help other. The encouraging words they heard from other participants during their work, made them feel happy and proud.
Sitting around the table with his SOS family waiting for the sunset to have his meal, Youssef an his SOS brothers and sisters started telling their SOS mother how they helped the charity team members with the cooked meals preparation. At the same moment, other SOS children in the rest of the village houses were doing the same. Evidently, all the children were feeling accomplished with what they did and they are looking forward for the next voluntary initiative.
*The child name was changed for privacy protection