Free group Iftar, fundraising for Turkey-Syria quake survivors: How Dubai schools will spend Ramadan this year

Through varied initiatives, schools try to cultivate the values of discipline, empathy and sacrifice among children, especially during this holy month


Nandini Sircar

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File photo. For illustrative purposes only.
File photo. For illustrative purposes only.

Published: Fri 17 Mar 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 17 Mar 2023, 11:28 PM

Different schools in Dubai are organising several initiatives before and during Ramadan, including raising significant amounts to help quake-affected people in Turkey and Syria.

On February 6, several earthquakes and aftershocks claimed the lives of more than 55,000 people in these two countries.

Steve Giles, Principal of Raffles International School, said, “We were deeply moved by the plight of the people in Turkey and Syria after the recent earthquakes. Our diverse community, which includes over 80 nationalities, came together as one to support emergency relief operations with donations. As part of Innoventures Education, we have raised more than Dh100,000 so far and our efforts will continue throughout Ramadan. Our thoughts are with the victims of this devastating earthquake and we pray their suffering may be eased soon.”

Ramadan this year is set to begin on March 23, Thursday (date can vary depending on moon-sighting), and will last for 29 days.

Through varied initiatives, schools try to cultivate the values of discipline, empathy and sacrifice among children, especially during this holy month.

“We are also delighted to host our annual school Iftar at 5.45pm until 8.00pm on Thursday April 13, 2023, tentatively the 22nd day of Ramadan. We invite our whole community including parents, students, teachers and support staff to this special event to celebrate the culture and traditions of our wonderful nation and school community. The Iftar is completely free and made possible through donations of food from our school community,” added Giles.

Ramadan charity drives are once again back in many other schools, with fundraising being an integral part of many programmes.

Amity School Dubai Principal, Sangita Chima says, “Our school community is immersed in creating and completing an extraordinary action plan called ‘Taj-Hi-Zat’ for the Holy Month of Ramadan. Taj-Hi-Zat means ‘preparation’ in Arabic. For this, we are planning a series of engaging activities that will spread awareness and uplift our school community, while also teaching students more about respecting different cultures, understanding others' beliefs and creating inclusive spaces."

“We are also introducing ‘Zakat’ to keep with the spirit of giving. Through the initiative, students will be encouraged to give back to society by participating in charity drives, virtual fundraisers, packing Iftar boxes and decorating them, and more. We have a Ramadan fridge outside the school gate that will be filled up regularly. An exciting school auction is being planned where students can donate their skills, talents and items to raise funds for Zakat.”

Ramadan assemblies

Ramadan assemblies will also be organised, where students will show their love and understanding for the Holy Month.

Interesting initiatives like ‘Home Décor Competitions’ will give students chances to win Iftar tickets.

Abdulbaset Habbach, Head of Islamic Department, GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa says, “Our Islamic Department and parents’ council are organising Ramadan goodies for all students, Muslim and non-Muslim, from FS1 to Year 13. We are also organising a Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr Charity Drive for our support staff. In addition, we will be holding a Ramadan ‘Home Décor Competition’, for which students will be encouraged to share their Ramadan decorations at home. The top two winning families will be awarded free Iftar tickets."

“Throughout the Holy Month, we will be holding Ramadan assemblies, where students will show their love and understanding of Ramadan. Our school will also be hosting an Iftar on 13 April for all our families, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. Also, our Islamic Department, supported by our parents’ council, will organise Eid Al-Fitr treats for all students,” he added.

Meanwhile, institutions are also working in collaboration with charitable organisations to support those in need.

Mohammed Solaiman, Head of Islamic Education at GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, opines, “Ramadan is a special time of year for us. This year we are collaborating with The Beit Al-Khair Society to help the needy and support their “Feed the Labourer” initiative during the Holy Month. We will be hosting the WSO Community Iftar, where parents, students and staff are invited to enjoy an Arabic performance, and contributions from that event will go to Beit Al-Khair to provide iftar meals for labourers.

“Our second WSO Ramadan initiative is the ‘Empathy Launch – Put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ where the community is being encouraged to feel empathetic towards the less fortunate and donate pairs of shoes which will also be going to labourers via Bait Al-Khair Society.”


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