Dignity and Comfort during Ramadan in Lebanon's Refugee Camps
"None of us can formally work. We certainly can’t afford to buy enough food during Ramadan. Prices always go up due to the higher demand. Anera is our guardian angel.”
For believers, Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, is a collective spiritual experience. Around the globe, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk - a practice intended to focus attention on thankfulness and acts of compassion, helping the mind, body and soul remember those who are struggling to put food on the table.
Although people afflicted with health conditions are not expected to fast, most in the vulnerable Muslim communities we serve are fasting throughout the month.
“It reminds us of home before the war. It reminds us of the iftar gatherings and the overwhelming spiritual feelings we share when praying, preparing food and being around family. We fast because we want to be closer to God in these hard times. We fast because a spiritual connection is one of the few things which is still truly ours.”
--Aminah, a 35-year-old Syrian refugee, widow and mother of three
Every year during Ramadan, Anera organizes large food parcels and distributes them in refugee camps in Lebanon to those in dire need of nutritional support. The food parcels include essential ingredients which Muslims use throughout the month, including rice and other grains, cooking oil, green lentils, white beans, hummus, dates and more.
This year, Anera concentrated food parcel distributions in Lebanon in Saida in the south, and Tripoli in the north. Anera Lebanon’s In-kind Program Coordinator and Pharmacist Lina Atat comments,
“We really sense the spirit of participation and engagement coordinating with our grassroots partners on distributions. It’s an annual ritual, working to alleviate the burdens of others during Ramadan. This year, we’ve prioritized families with disabled members, and other families identified as most vulnerable. I always wish we could reach more people.”
Anera distributes the parcels based on vulnerability needs assessments, prioritizing widows, families with special needs individuals and families with little to no income.
"We are a total of seven people in our house. As a father, and especially during Ramadan, my first concern is to feed my family. So I sometimes end up working double shifts while fasting. When NGOs like Anera distribute food parcels, we feel relieved and at ease, because they are taking a huge load off of our shoulders. It means we can enjoy the holy month of Ramadan in dignity and comfort."
--Hani, a 42-year-old Palestinian resident of Ein El Hilweh camp
Recipients of Anera’s Ramadan food parcels include Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian families.
"I feel blessed when I see the Anera name on a truck or banner. They always show up. Both my husband and teenage son are handicapped and I suffer from heart issues. None of us can formally work, and we certainly can’t afford to buy enough food during Ramadan. Prices always go up during this time due to the higher demand. Anera is our guardian angel.”
--Kamle, a 65-year-old Lebanese resident of Saida, in southern Lebanon