For the majority of the people of Mindanao, Ramadan is the most significant event in the Islamic calendar. For Muslims, this is the time to put reflection and spiritual cleansing at the forefront of their daily lives

Islamic Relief Philippines believes that Muslim Filipinos deserve enough food to get them through this period, thus the realization of the Ramadan Food Pack distribution project. The organization, with donated resources from Maybank, was able to distribute a total of P1,807 food packs in the areas of Kabuntalan, Maguindanao, and Tubaran and Pagayawan, Lanao del Sur. Each pack consisted of 15 kilos of rice, 500 grams of monggo beans, 1 liter of vegetable oil, 500 grams of coffee, 2 cans of sardines and corned beef, and 1 kilo or brown sugar.

Recipient households were selected through the identification of poorest barangays and war-affected locations in Islamic Relief operating areas. Families from each of the barangays were carefully reviewed according to those who are in most need. The criteria included families that are headed by single parents, amount of income, number of individuals living in households, and those composed of people living with disabilities, pregnant women, children, and elders. In close collaboration with the local government units and community leaders, Islamic Relief was able to identify families that had the utmost need for the food packs.

Many expressed their deepest gratitude to the organization for the project. Barangay Secretary and beneficiary Alibasher says, “Taos pusong pasasalamat sa pagbigay sa amin ng mga relief. Kahit na para sa iba ay maliit lamang ito, para sa amin ay napakalaki ng halaga nito. Na-realize namin na may mga taong may malasakit pala para sa mga taong biktima ng digmaan at kahirapaan. Maraming salamat po.” (A heartfelt gratitude for giving us these relief goods. Even though this may seem small to others, this is already very valuable to us. We realized that there are still people who have concern for victims of conflict and poverty. Thank you very much.)

Corazon, a woman who takes care of her 2 granddaughters says, “Ang trabaho ngayon ay hanggang tanghali lang dahil mahirap mag-trabaho nang walang kinakain at iniinom.” (Our work now only lasts until 12 noon because it’s really hard to work without any food or water) In an already low paying job, families have less time to gather income for their basic needs.

A resident from Lanao del Sur says, “the holy month of Ramadan is a very happy and exciting time for us because it is the time for prayer and getting through challenges.” During this period, Muslims fast from food and drinks from the break of dawn until sunset on a daily basis, this is intended to redirect their hearts and bodies away from worldly activities. (Islamic Relief Philippines)