Rafeez Ahmad distributing iftar to workers. Image Credit: Supplied

This year is the first one in which I have spent Ramadan without my family around me. I moved to the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah to pursue my colleage degree, leaving my family in Saudi Arabia.

Feeling homesick, alone and endlessly missing my mother’s food, I decided to help those who are alone like me and those who are needy.

In UAE, every one cares for all and the month of Ramadan was perfect to highlight that further.

I decided to visit a labour camp in Ras Al Khaimah and ask them about their condition during the month. Most of them told me that they wait for vehicles to drop off food for iftar and if that doesn’t’ happen on the day, they visit the local mosque. I wanted to give them the certainty of having a proper meal to end their fast.

I reached out to a group of my friends and we decided to collect enough money to feed at least a few hundred people at the camp.

To my surprise, the support was overwhelming. Until now, my friends Tawfiq Ahsan,

Adnan Hassan, Amir Khosro and I have managed to provide over 400 meals. My goal was specifically to distribute 150 meals during the last 10 days of the month and we crossed that number and provided 200 so far.

Understanding others’ suffering and empathizing with those who might not have enough is the essence of the month. I realized this after spending it away from my family.

— The reader is a student based in Ras Al Khaimah.

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