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Creating a Nurturing Environment for Youth Participating in Ramadan

Ramadan, for Muslims, is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is observed by Muslims through fasting, prayer, reflection, and community building. Typically, individuals who have reached puberty are expected to observe the fast, which includes many of the students attending local schools that we work with. During the month, Muslims refrain from food, drink (YES, including water) from dawn till sunset. To build on the equity work that HEC’s Schools Team has led, we partnered with The Council on American Islamic Relations, Sacramento Valley/Central California (CAIR – SV/CC) to host a webinar to educate school partners and raise awareness about the significance of the Holy Month of Ramadan and how they can accommodate students who observe Ramadan.


Program Administrator Hibatallah Eltahir, MPH (Masters in Public Health) said “I initially connected with CAIR when my colleague and I presented at a Twin Rivers Unified School District board meeting to discuss HEC’s halal foods advocacy and have developed a strong partnership with them over time, so this was a great opportunity to collaborate.” Facilitators Lina Mokeddem and Mohammed Bello provided a thorough, broad range of ways that adults, school staff and community members, can implement to create a welcoming place for students, including providing space for prayer and alternative lunch time activities. They also emphasized the importance of providing accommodations and flexibility for activities such as recess and physical education.


A key takeaway was a brief video that they shared where youth spoke candidly about what they’re feeling and experiencing during the month, including the school day. It provided insight that made the importance of schools being a welcoming space critical. Eltahir says there are many ways for families and community members to show support for students observing the fast, such as cooking a meal for a fasting family, fasting for a day, educating themselves on Ramadan, and celebrating Eid al Fitr (end of Ramadan), providing opportunities and spaces for rest while fasting.


To become involved with HEC’s school equity please contact us