Celebrating Ramadan in Lahore, Pakistan
For the children at SOS Children’s Village Lahore, the month sees the families spend time together, praying and giving thanks for all the blessings in their lives.
The SOS mother’s work hard to prepare for Ramadan well in advance, buying all the food they need for the month and helping each child understand the importance of Ramadan for Muslims. As the month begins, the older children help their SOS mothers to prepare the Iftar meals and clean the houses. The month is a good chance for them to gain more responsibility within their families, and they encouraged to look after their younger siblings by playing with them, reading with them and helping them with their homework. “The hope is that this will continue long after Ramadan ends,” says one SOS mother.
A meal shared with friends
Every night, after the sun has set, every house in the Village invites the neighbours on their right for Iftar. Every house is included in the circle of sharing so no-one is left out. The sharing of food is a deeply symbolic act which helps build a strong sense of family, community and belonging throughout the Village.
The children love these evening get-togethers – they get to play with all their friends and enjoy stories about Iftar meals of old and learn more about their Pakistani culture and history. When the stories are over, it’s time to play – the children are allowed to stay up longer than usual and do many of the things that are often considered treats, such as watch back-to-back TV programmes or have sleepovers.
As Ramadan progresses, the SOS mother’s take their children to the local market to shop for the upcoming Eid celebrations. The children look forward to these trips all year long; the market is a kaleidoscope of sights and sounds and sells pretty much everything you could possibly imagine! The mothers help the children pick out a new outfit or accessory to be worn for Eid. The beginning of Eid is known as Chand Raat and baskets of glittering bangles and all manner of other brightly coloured accessories are placed on tables in every house in the Village. The children are encouraged to pick an item they like before going off to show their gift to all their friends! The girls get together to put Mehndi patterns on their hands – every year it’s a competition to see who has the best designs, and some of the girls are incredibly skilled Mehndi artists.
Ramadan for the children at SOS Children’s Village Lahore is a fun time, full of laughter and good food shared with friends and family. It is a time that brings everyone together in celebration.
Giving Zakat this Ramadan
We've been working in Pakistan since 1977, when we opened the Village in Lahore. That's nearly 40 years of Ramadan celebrations!
Another important aspect of Ramadan is Zakat. Zakat donations are central to Muslim beliefs, and are a kind of 'tax' on an individual's income; during Ramadan individuals often give a percentage of their income to charity.
At SOS Children we are able to accept Zakat donations. You can donate your Zakat to any of the 125 countries we work in. If you choose to donate in this way, your money will be held in a non-interest earning account. You can also sponsor a child from any of our Children’s Villages. Your sponsorship will be subject to our normal banking procedures. Your donation will help us to continue giving vulnerable and orphan children accross the world a loving home.
Please visit our dedicated page on Zakat giving for more information.