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Ramadan: Time to Fast and Serve

Prayers in Morocco during Ramadan

By Kaoutar Benchouk

Marrakech – In this holy month of Ramadan, I decided to volunteer at associations that provide help for refugees and disabled people.

The significance of fasting during the entire month is not only spiritual, but has a humanitarian basis. Although I know that I’m going to break my fast at the sun set, there are other people elsewhere starving that don’t know where their next meal will come from.

I joined the two associations, knowing that I had to prepare for my finals at the university simultaneously. However, I wanted to make my fasting and devotion useful ths month.

I knew that volunteering should start from within the local community, so I began working in the village where my parents live. It’s a small village in the middle of nowhere.

I joined two associations, each with a different focus. One provides care, aid, and assistance to refugees who have been traumatized by horrors of war and rape in war zones. I met victims of sexual violence and saw the unjustice that they were subjected to, I felt their isolation, the abuse, the shame they felt, and fears of not being able to report abusers. The other volunteers and I did what we could to increase our efforts in this holy month, especially to provide psychological assistance to refugees, to bring back stability and safety to their life, and also provide them shelters.

Kaoutar Benchouk

The second association I worked with took care of local disabled people. These people are marginalized because they live in a small, inactive village and don’t have the chance to practice vital activities. For this reason, we tried to make them the main focus of attention. We started by trying to convince them to engage in community service, socialize with people, and challenge their physical disabilities. I learned through my discussions with them that they are full of energy, aspirations, and hope, just like any other healthy human being. They have dreams to fulfil and goals to achieve in life ; they simply needed a push.

Luckily, our association was in the right place in the right time. We started a fund-raising campaign to benefit of these people; furthermore we signed partnerships with other well-established and wel-known associations in Morocco to obtain the necessary equipment for these people. These associations helped us find us specialists to work with the disabled men and women, including physiotherapists and speech therapists. They provided us with as crutches, wheel chairs, walking sticks, braille books and magazines, sticks for blind people, and hearing aids.

Center for rehabilitation of women in hard situation

I’m glad that I had the chance apply my Islamic values this holy month. It warmed my heart that I was able to make a difference, Nothing feels greater than seeing the smile on these needy peoples’ faces due the comfort I had helped provide them. Nothing feels better than seeing the difference I could make in individuals’ life. This holy month of Ramadan is all about helping each other. Islam teaches  that good deeds are a fundamental part in worship  Therefore, I beieve in the truth of the saying: ” Do good, and good will always come back to you.”

Ramadan is time not only to empty your stomach, but to feed your soul through community service.

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