Sri Lankan father-of-four Samsudeen Basheer lives with his family in Ilanthamottai village, in the north-western district of Mannar.

“I have been working in a bakery since my early twenties,” Basheer told us during our Ramadan 2014 distribution. “Sometimes, I work as a labourer in the construction and agriculture industries in order to meet household expenses.

“My three children, wife, mother-in-law and the grandmother of my wife live with me. My earnings are not enough to meet [even] routine expenses. It led me to be frustrated and stressed, and very often I was away from my family.

“In the recent past, I struggled at Ramadan. On occasion, I failed to pray and fast because earning money so we could celebrate Eid was a priority. But now I am more familiar with fasting, and offer my prayers without fail. My children and I recite Qur’an as much as possible.

Basheer and his family give thanks to God for their food parcel.

Basheer and his family give thanks to God for their food parcel.

Many poor families received food

“Many of the families living in our village are poor, and face difficulties in getting enough food,” he said, adding that during the blessed month, food staples become more expensive. “But this year, many of the poorest people have received a food parcel from Islamic Relief.”

The Islamic Relief food parcels – provided through our annual Ramadan food distribution programme – contained a range of food items, including sugar, rice, flour, dates, and lentils.

“My community felt happiness and joy, starting Ramadan with the food distribution. It has strengthened social interaction and unity among poor families. The food is relieving the effects of food shortages.

“We are able to plan the month of Ramadan with the food we received from Islamic Relief. It is enough for the month, so we can continue fasting. It has relieved our hardship to a great extent. We could see the blessings of God in this distribution.”