Warming tummies

2016-07-05 06:00
Children enjoy the activities at the Iftaar experience in the Shawco Hall.

Children enjoy the activities at the Iftaar experience in the Shawco Hall.

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Ramadan may be a time of fasting for the Muslim community, but it is also a time of sharing.

Iftaar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset, and on Saturday 25 June, Fairouz Nagia-Luddy, the Ward 56 independent councillor treated more than 150 children from the area to an Iftaar experience in the Shawco Community Hall in 12th Avenue.

Fairouz explains that the event was not only to provide the children with an Iftaar experience, but also to kick-start a programme for their development and empowerment.

She explains that the idea came to her about a month ago during a winter feeding drive in Factreton.

“A group of children, aged six to about 11, started to explain how they didn’t like it when the gangsters start fighting and shoot their guns,” she says.

“This was very profound. These are not discussions our children should be having. They should not be exposed to such violence. Yet we know that this is the reality for children on the Cape Flats. I asked myself: ‘When do these kids just get to feel safe and free to just be kids?’”

Fairouz wanted to give the children more than tasty treats.

“My idea was to give the children more than just a warm meal. I wanted to show them that they are loved and give them some positive attention where they could get exposure to positive role models from the community.”

The programme for the evening included motivational talks and martial arts demonstrations as well as games and quizzes where prizes were the order of the day, and the children left the venue feeling cared for, with bellies full and faces smiling.

“One of the most heart-warming aspects is how community members pooled their resources to achieve this,” says Fairouz.

“Organisations such as the Swot Bootcamp Team – an organisation of young, dynamic professionals who dedicate their free time to ensuring health and wellness in the Kensington, Factreton and Maitland areas – were primary partners in this initiative.

“They mobilised their membership through the use of social media and people flocked to lend their assistance. The other positive factor that we showed them was that it was not just about the Muslim community. Everybody, including churches in the area, individuals and small businesses from the area giving of their time, contributed in cash and kind.”

Fairouz also thanks all the sponsors that include Shawco, Something Nice Bakery, Holmes Kenpo Karate, Seni Silat Pukulan Melaka, Al Jama-ah Political Party, Spar Kensington, Welcome Bakery, and Shell (Factreton).

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