As Ramadan 2014 progresses into its midway-point, most of us have established a daily routine that incorporates suhoor (pre-fasting meal before dawn), dua’a (supplications), salaah (prayer), dhikr (remembrance of God in word and action), and iftar (fast-breaking meal at sunset), often culminating with tarawe’eh (supplementary evening prayers offered during Ramadan) and witr (supplementary midnight prayer).
For most, iftar is a time we gather around the table with our family and/or friends, joyfully sharing food and fellowship. We laugh and talk about the day’s events; we contemplate our fasts and discuss stories of our Prophets (peace be upon them). And as we sit around our living rooms, lounging on sofas in post-fast dazes, we look at our children playing and the spirit of this blessed season overcomes us, and we say, “Alhumdulillah wa shukr!” (Thank you, God!)
Our children are the greatest gift Allah bestows upon us, and we owe it to them (and Him) to provide, support and protect them at all times.
Yet, not every child has a parent who can – or will – care for and love them. And so it is, at this time, I want to share with you, dear readers, a noble and worthy cause and opportunity for zakat (tithing) and sadaqa (charity) during this holy month: Home of Hope.
Home of Hope opened in 1991 in Beirut, Lebanon. Established by the Lebanese Evangelical Society (Christian-based, but it doesn’t matter – we’re talking about CHILDREN!), it “serves the misfortunate, abused, abandoned and orphaned children of Lebanon.”
It also provides a home and shelter for refugee children coming from neighboring at-war countries, such as Syria and Palestine. And one of the best aspects of Home of Hope is that it doesn’t discriminate based on religious affiliation. That’s right – they accept every child.
But the problem is they’re running out of room (or have possibly run out by now), supplies, and just plain financial support. As this month progresses, more and more children have been taken in by their organization, in an effort to save the kids who generally live on the street from being arrested. These are children who have no parents, whose parents are in jail for various reasons (sometimes legitimate, sometimes not), whose parents have cast them aside due to being illegitimate, whose parents force them out on the street to work and earn money for them.
Just a few of the problems they’re experiencing are:
insufficient heat during the winter due to not having access to a generator during country-wide electricity rations
lack of protein-based food supplies (i.e., meat)
shortage of beds and bedding
not enough clothing, including undergarments and coats, for children of all ages
These are children who, after reaching the age of adulthood and leaving Home of Hope, will never be considered legal residents or citizens of Lebanon. These are children who have no agency. Children who will always be at risk of arrest or detainment, simply because they’re alive.
What does Home of Hope do besides provide shelter, food and clothing for homeless/refugee/orphaned children in Lebanon?
Our aims for the Home of Hope are many and multi-faceted, but they all focus on creating a nurturing, encouraging, and helpful environment, which shall: first of all, help them to recover from the traumatic events which they have passed through; and second, to educate and raise the children to be intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually prepared to face an increasingly biased future.
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