Life is hard for Habiba Firdaws Ali, who lives near Juba, the capital of conflict-torn South Sudan.
Habiba’s husband works as a daily labourer on construction sites around the city, whilst she takes in washing when she can.
“I sometimes accompany my husband to construction sites, where I cook food to sell to his fellow workers,” said Habiba, 34, who lives in Nyakuron East.
“Recently my husband has been sick and we missed out on food. With the current crisis, jobs have been very scarce.”
Tens of thousands have died and millions have fled their homes during conflict in South Sudan. The fighting has pushed many into food insecurity – including Habiba and her family.
“With the current conflict, sometimes we sleep hungry. Sometimes we move and live with our extended family to share the little they have.”
A burden lifted at Ramadan
Despite her hardships, Ramadan – as for Muslims around the world – remains a special time for the mother-of-four.
“Ramadan has added to my faith and imaan to fast even more. I have also learned from it the art of sharing the little one has. It has made me closer to God.”
Usually, the Habiba and her family break their fasts with essh (bread), beans and other vegetables. But last year, they received one of about 1,800 Ramadan foodpacks distributed by Islamic Relief in South Sudan. Each parcel contained food items including rice, flour, lentils and macaroni – as well as dates and a powdered drink.
Without the burden of finding food, Habiba was able to focus on other things and to make the most of the blessed month.
“It made us concentrate more on other issues. For example, I pray a lot, have ample time with my family, clean my homestead and even visit my relatives and sick people in hospital.
“It brought peaceful coexistence among people living in the area. We feel we are stronger than ever before and even more grateful to God for providing bountiful food resources compared to other months of the year.”
Habiba has benefitted from a number of Islamic Relief projects delivered in her area. She also received Qurbani meat in 2014, uses a borehole drilled by Islamic Relief, and has been given essential items such as cooking sets, soap, and bedding.