Your Ramadan charity can help struggling mothers like Balqees
© UNHCR/Shadi Abusneida
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How Ramadan charity is helping refugees observe the holy month

Your Ramadan charity empowers refugees, providing them with peace and dignity during these challenging times.

Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, which begins after sighting of the crescent moon. It is a deeply spiritual time when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset and devote themselves to increased prayer and study of the Qur’an.

Ramadan is also a social month centred on sharing food and laughter with loved ones over iftar, an evening meal for Muslims to break the fast at sundown. It is a time of generosity and giving to those who need it most through Ramadan charity.

After 30 days of fasting, the holy month closes with Eid al-Fitr, or the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.

How are refugees observing the month of Ramadan?

This year, the beginning of Ramadan coincided with 13 years since the start of the crisis in Syria. Since then, over seven million people have been displaced while five million Syrian refugees are hosted in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Millions of refugees observe Ramadan in extreme hardship. Far from their homes and loved ones, many struggle to put food on their table and go without warm meals for iftar. Despite these challenges, refugees choose to practise their faith, sharing the blessings of Ramadan through good deeds.

Learn more about how refugees are observing the holy month and how Muslims around the world are helping those forced to flee.

Mahmoud and Saqra

Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis in decades. Ninety per cent of Syrian refugees living in the country are trapped in extreme poverty, unable to pay for rent, food and other everyday expenses. This includes Mahmoud and Saqra, a Syrian refugee family now living in Lebanon and struggling to pay for their basic needs.

“Our lives have become more difficult. The rent is more expensive now. If you are sick, it is hard to get medicine,” says Saqra.

Despite the hardships they’ve faced, Mahmoud and Saqra are observing Ramadan with grateful and generous hearts. This gives them strength and hope during these challenging times.

“Our traditions are so beautiful,” says Mahmoud. If I meet someone during Ramadan, of course I would invite them to iftar.”

We eat whatever God provides for us. If we receive tomatoes and onions, we give thanks to God. The UNHCR aid we receive helps us maintain our dignity.”


Your Ramadan charity can help refugees observing the holy month far from their homes.
© UNHCR/Shawkat Alharfosh

Awatef and her family are spending Ramadan in Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan. After being forced to flee her home in Syria, Awatef suffered the loss of her 16-year-old daughter.

“My daughter’s death shook me to my core. Her loss is something I will never recover from.”

As she prepares iftar for her family, she reminisces about her daughter and draws strength from their memories.

“What helps me make it through every day is the memory of my late daughter. When she used to see me cry and in distress, she would ease my pain.”


Your Ramadan charity can help families afford food, shelter and medicine.
© UNHCR/Shadi Abusneida
Displaced Yemenis share a meal with their loved ones this Ramadan. © UNHCR/Shadi Abusneida

Balqees and her family were displaced by the conflict in Yemen. She is doing her best to provide for her children this Ramadan, but every day is a struggle.

“Sometimes I earn enough money to feed my children. Other times I end up crying because I have nothing to feed them.”

After nearly a decade of conflict, 21 million people in Yemen are relying on humanitarian assistance to survive. With support from UNHCR, displaced families like Balqees’ are receiving life-saving aid, including vital supplies such as tents and blankets and cash assistance so they can afford food, shelter and medicine.

“If we stop receiving the Zakat, we will not be able to feed ourselves during these hard times,” says Balqees.


Asad fled his home in Myanmar and now lives in Kutupalong refugee camp. He and his family are among almost one million Rohingyas reigsted with UNHCR in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

The situation is dire. Camps are overcrowded with shelters made of bamboo and tarpaulin, offering little protection from harsh weather conditions. Communities lack access to clean water or proper sanitation leaving families at high risk of diseases such as cholera. There are also very limited opportunities for work and education in the camp.

Last year, food rations were cut twice due to lack of funding. This means refugees have just $12 per month to spend on food – or 40 cents per day.

“In Myanmar, we made it through Ramadan with the little money we had. We could have fish, meat, milk and bananas to eat at midnight before we started our fast. But ever since we came to Bangladesh, we could not afford much.”

Asad and his family are observing the holy month while facing hardship, poverty and uncertainty. Despite this, they continue to spend time in prayer for their needs and that of others.

“I pray to God for Rizq, for my needs and that of my children and for the safety and health of those who are unwell all over the world.”

What is Ramadan Charity?

For Muslims around the world, the month of Ramadan is filled with days of fasting, prayer, charity and iftar meals with friends and family. While it is a joyful time for most, refugees and displaced people are struggling to celebrate, having been forced to flee their homes and losing loved ones. Many are unable to provide for their families and put food on the table for iftar.

Muslims are encouraged to be generous to those in need during the holy month. The rewards for giving in Ramadan are believed to be multiplied many times over. Giving can take many forms such as hosting iftars for those who are hungry, donating to the poor and helping in the community.

One type of Ramadan charity is Zakat, which requires financially capable Muslims to give at least 2.5% of their wealth to the less fortunate. Zakat is an important part of the Muslim faith and one of the five pillars of Islam.

How can you help refugees during Ramadan?

By donating your Zakat to Australia for UNHCR, you can provide cash assistance to help vulnerable people pay for rent, food and medicine.

UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund is compliant with Islamic principles. 100 per cent of your Zakat is given to refugees and displaced families, providing them with comfort and hope during these challenging times.

“It is in difficult times like these that we must be reminded of the power of a community standing together. This Ramadan may our collective strength echo louder than the despair that seeks to silence hope,” says UN High Commissioner Filippo Grandi.

In 2023, Zakat contributions helped over 1.1 million people in 20 countries with significant Muslim populations, including Lebanon, Bangladesh, Yemen and Afghanistan. Since its inception in 2017, the Refugee Zakat Fund has supported over 5.3 million people forced to flee their homes by providing families with emergency relief items and cash assistance.

“When you have money, you can do the things you need to do. With the cash assistance I received from UNHCR, I was able to get an operation done,” says Safia, a displaced Yemeni mother struggling to rebuild her life.

“When you have money, you can do the things you need to do. With the cash assistance I received from UNHCR, I was able to get an operation done,” says Safia, a displaced Yemeni mother struggling to rebuild her life.

This Ramadan, you can show refugees like Safiya they haven’t been forgotten. Donate your Zakat to provide vulnerable families with safety, protection and aid so they can observe the holy month in peace and dignity.