Children from SOS Children's Village Bethlehem - Pat Fitzpatrick with an SOS family in Sri Lanka
Children growing up in SOS Children’s Villages celebrate the cultural events of the country where they live.
- “What Ramadan means to sponsored children”
Children growing up in SOS Children’s Villages celebrate the cultural events of the country where they live. In Islamic countries, this includes recognising the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a time of fasting, prayer and charity.
Children from SOS Children's Villages in Palestinian Territories and Sudan describe their experiences of Ramadan...
Ahlam, (11), a girl from SOS Children's Village Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories
"On the first day of Ramadan I go shopping with my SOS mother Wessam. We buy fruits, vegetables, sugar, and the ingredients for all the sweets my SOS mother makes during the month.
We all help my mother clean up the family house. My three siblings and I each do part of the cleaning. We then decorate the house together. We hang lights and crescents especially for Ramadan around the house.
The thing I like most about Ramadan is eating iftar (the meal after breaking the fast at sunset). My mother makes some of my favourite dishes in Ramadan, like maklouba (a dish made of meat or chicken layered with rice and vegetables).”
Abdel-Wahab (13), a boy from SOS Children's Village Khartoum, Sudan
"In preparation for the month of Ramadan, my family does a thorough cleaning of the family house. We organise all kinds of entertainment and gatherings with our friends and all the families from the Children’s Village.
My mother makes special sweets and drinks for Ramadan. My favourite dish is aseedah (a traditional Sudanese dish made of corn flour dough and a sauce made with onions, garlic and ghee). We eat lots of dates during Ramadan because it's a tradition of the prophet to break the fast with dates. I love dates more than any other sweets so I'm usually really happy in Ramadan.
Last year I fasted for 19 days, and this year I hope to fast the whole month. Fasting teaches us how the poor people feel and makes us understand their needs so that we can be kinder to them and help them more.”
You can help children like Ahlam and Abdel-Wahab grow up with a family. Find out more about Zakat giving with SOS Children.
- “Life-changing work: SOS Children in Sri Lanka”
Pat Fitzpatrick, SOS Children supporter who recently visited SOS Children’s Village Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka
For our first visit to an SOS Children’s Village, we had chosen Nuwara Eliya, in the mountain area of central Sri Lanka.
Important as a hill station in colonial times, it is now an attraction for travellers, with its lush vegetation, tea plantations, bungalows and intensively worked terraces for a huge variety of vegetables.
First impressions usually last the longest: we were struck by the peace and calm of the village, its orderly nature, the quality of the buildings and the overall upkeep. This was obviously a place where standards were important, time and effort was being bestowed on the fabric and upkeep of the property.
Our initial positive impressions were further reinforced when we were invited into one of the homes. The full family of ten had now returned from school and there was a tangible buzz of excitement, the children obviously pleased to receive visitors. Despite this intrusion into their lives, the children showed remarkable composure and maturity - patiently waiting their turn to answer our questions – “what is your name, how old are you?” etc. When I told them I was 20 (well, a bit older really!), it drew peals of laughter.
The sitting room / dining room had an intimacy about it, with comfortable chairs and pictures on the walls. It had a lovely homely feel. The youngest child, now three, had joined the family when he was only 45 days old, whilst the oldest, a pretty girl of 13, had the most delightful smile and manner, with quite a good command of English.
Our feelings of respect and admiration for the mothers reached new heights. Theirs is a job that involves them every hour of every day: for most of us the thought of a family of ten children is just too much to contemplate. Without any question, what these women do is life-changing for their children. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that not only are they totally dedicated, but they have chosen to make a huge sacrifice with their own lives. Their dedication to the task of raising these children was more than apparent.
We took our leave feeling very humble - it had been an enjoyable, revealing and at times emotional two hours. As we left we walked through an avenue of Frangipane trees. Boys were shouting, laughing and climbing through the higher branches, swinging on the lower ones, whilst a huddle of girls stood chattering, perhaps mulling over our visit. A very happy scene, in a very happy community.
Find out more about SOS Children in Sri Lanka