YCSD would like to present you the following intercultural and inter-religious project -- Ramadan Tent is an award winning student-led project aiming to participate in social change by bringing together different communities & fostering dialogue
- Cater for the homeless or individuals in need through the provision of food and beverages during the month of Ramadan, as well as providing them with a space to interact and recreate social bonds
- Provide Muslims with a platform to engage with individuals and other communities to discuss their faith and combat stereotypes
- Invite together people from different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs and ethnicity to promote a community spirit and communal cohesion
Set up during the holiest month of the Islamic calendar the main goal of Ramadan Tent was to bring the true spirit of Ramadan to life for all; the spirit of community, unity, compassion and mercy. Fasting from dawn till dusk during the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. During the month students, university staff, the homeless and the general public were invited to share the breaking of the fast, known as iftar, each day.
Underlining the initiative is the belief that when people come together to break bread, unity in humanity replaces the social, political and religious differences that often separate us. By inviting people from all backgrounds and walks of life to share a meal the Ramadan Tent seeks to promote greater cross-community cohesion and understanding. The site of the Ramadan Tent was ideal for reaching this goal; SOAS, University of London is in many ways a perfect example with over 130 nationalities represented in its student body. It is a university that celebrates diversity and cultures from around the world. Led by SOAS students and alumni, Ramadan Tent had volunteers from over 50 different countries; both Muslims and non-Muslims.
The initiative proved a great success in becoming a place for the general public to gain access to a culture that might have been alien to many. Conversations with the guests also made clear that one of the aims was successful in terms of challenging misconceptions about Muslims and Islam. With over 150 people attending the iftars on a daily basis and over 4000 people visiting Ramadan Tent in total over the course of the month, the reach of the initiative was beyond all expectations.
Charity is a central part of Ramadan and emphasis is put on helping one’s neighbour. Serving the wider community is therefore at the heart of the Ramadan Tent; inviting the homeless to join the iftars is thus an important aim of the campaign. Homeless shelters were contacted and an outreach team sent out to invite the homeless and others in need to the iftars. Furthermore, excess food was distributed to the shelters. One of the most regular volunteers that became an important member of the Ramadan Tent family was in fact homeless.
Through its flagship project Open Iftar, Ramadan Tent invites the homeless and the public at large, Muslims and non-Muslims, to break fast together at dusk during the holy month of Ramadan each year. Creating a Ramadan atmosphere in the heart of London, sharing meals, raising awareness about Islam, connecting neighbours and ensuring charitable endeavours continue. The Ramadan Tent Project delivers a platform that fulfils both the objectives of catering for people in need and promoting greater cross-community cohesion and understanding.
The project link: http://www.ramadantentproject.com
Our partner source: youth-in-action.org