Despite challenging circumstances, refugees find strength and peace during the holy month.
Millions of refugees are observing the holy month of Ramadan far from home and in difficult circumstances. They live in constant uncertainty and struggle to put food on the table. However, these challenges don’t stop refugees from practising their faith and observing Ramadan – which for many is an important source of strength.
Nidhal fled his home in Syria and now lives in Tunisia. He is among 9,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered with UNHCR in Tunisia.
Observing Ramadan away from his home and loved ones is hard, but Nidhal’s faith and his new community in Tunisia help him through these difficult times.
During Ramadan, Nidhal bakes Syrian sweets to share with his new community.
“The Ramadan spirit in Tunisia is very similar to Syria. Arab countries always share the same values during Ramadan, we help each other and share always a table.”
Um Hadi, 47, fled her home in Homs, Syria, in 2016 after her husband passed away. Now she lives in Azraq camp, Jordan, with her three children, Hadi, Osama and Shatha.
Back in Syria, the entire family celebrated Iftar together. This Ramadan is their sixth in Jordan and Um Hadi says that she misses her family in Syria the most at this time of year – especially her mother, who she calls every day.
This Ramadan, the family has been spending time together, praying and reading the Qur’an.
“This month of Ramadan we should treat each other in a nice way and be kind too, since it’s a month of forgiveness and compassion,” Shatha said.
Nizar, 32, is a Syrian refugee living in Za’atari camp, Jordan, with his wife and four children. In Syria, Nizar sold qatayef (sweet dumplings) with his father, but he had to abandon his business when he fled his home in 2011.
Nizar decided to open his own store in the camp and now sells the delicious sweets to the refugee community in Za’atari camp, which is home to 80,000 refugees.
“Qatayef is one of Ramadan's main sweet dishes and I love making it because it reminds me of our days in Syria,” Nizar said.
Firas, an Iraqi refugee living in Jordan, celebrates Ramadan with his wife and other refugees living in East Amman.
UNHCR Jordan’s Nuzha Community Centre hosts ‘Ramadan Night’ – an opportunity for refugees of different nationalities to share their unique Ramadan traditions and music with each other.
UNHCR runs 23 community centres in Jordan in collaboration with the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) to promote community cohesion between Jordanians and refugees.
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.