There are five people sitting in the same dirt-yard. The first is an old man; he is a vegetable peddler. He is aged, and the limbs of his body seem to rage against each other. There is no coordination in his movements, he is ragged, one of his eyes has been put out and the threat on his second eye is looming. He is war.
The second is a young girl in borrowed clothing; her own garments have been taken away from her. She is a prisoner, and every day she reaches her tiny hands through the bars hoping for a morsel, yet the world turns a blind eye. She is occupation.
The third is a dark-skinned young man with smoldering eyes. He is in a wheelchair; his legs have been mutilated beyond any resemblance of normal limbs. He is catastrophe.
The fourth is an infant boy whose face has lost its baby roundness. Hunger has eaten away at his limbs, and this is because he is an orphan. He has no mother to feed him. He is poverty.
The fifth is a young lady of exceptional beauty who has been torn and ravaged by the times. She can only run with those behind her gaining fast. She has nowhere to go. She is illness.
The month of Ramadan is a month of family, generosity, tradition. The tradition of fasting is one that makes people all over the world feel with those who are hungry, with those who are destitute. It is a time when hands are stretched out to those in need with love and care. And in this month in general is all the generosity of the world contained in the hearts of those who care. Human Concern International is one of those who care. They have done, this past Ramadan, work that will last in the hearts of the destitute forever. For the time being, at least, war, occupation, catastrophe, poverty and illness are vanquished.
Lebanon is the old man War. Civil strife, especially around Tripoli lately in the north, is rampant. Civilians struggle to meet their needs and educate their children. It is like the scarred, hopeless old man who is peddling his vegetables to no one who can afford to buy them. They turn stagnant, much like his hopes. In order to help this old man, HCI held two iftars in which delicious and nutritious food was available to the orphans of Tripoli and their families. They also distributed food packets to the needy in the north, in the south and in the east of the country, putting a smile on the old man’s face for the first time in a long time.
Palestine is the young girl occupation. The families of martyred men lose their source of income and are in dire need of assistance. The Israeli siege and checkpoints make sure that little help is got to them. They are losing hope of survival. And yet, through terrible conditions in which food packets were investigated scrupulously and spoiled, thrown on the ground and left to rot, the determination of the HCI crew managed to distribute hundreds packages to hundreds needy families. Thus the HCI managed to find–not only bread and water– but also cake and tea to the imprisoned young girl with the hands stretched out.
Sudan is the young man catastrophe. The countrymen of Sudan have to live where every institution is a catastrophe: educational, economical, environmental, political, constitutional, infrastructure, health, civilisation, development and so on. And the squalid way in which the population is spread out duplicates the suffering of the Sudanese people. The HCI made their way through desolate lands, unpaved roads, dry landscapes and hazy horizons in order to get help to the Sudanese people. They managed to held two iftars and distribute hundreds food packages to needy Sudanese families at four poverty-stricken communities.
Egypt is the baby boy poverty. The village communities are vulnerable and marginalized, lacking proper heath and medical care services. The HCI helped the poor civilians of village communities by distributing five hundred Ramadan food parcels with rice, pasta, broad beans, vegetable ghee, sugar, tea and dried apricots. This definitely helped an infant smile to grow on the baby boy’s face.
Iraq is the young lady illness. More specifically, she is an Iraqi refugee. Iraqi refugees tend to stuff into cramped ragged apartments, most often an entire family in a single room. There’s little furniture and inadequate heat. Living in such congested quarters can increase the spread of illnesses, but most can’t afford or access health services. The HCI helped many needy and destitute families by distributing food packages this Ramadan.
One by one, these five people sitting in the dirt-yard have come into contact with kindness, warmth, and humanity in the form of the HCI, and each has learned just how grateful one can be to an extended helping hand. The HCI hopes that during Laylatul Qadr their fates for the next year will be kinder, and our fates on this side of the line will help us help them even more. And the HCI says, Ramadan Kareem, kareem indeed.