Samsudeen Basheer works in a bakery in Ilanthamottai village, Sri Lanka. His salary is not enough to provide for everyone in his household – his three children, wife, mother-in-law and grandmother.
“I’ve been working in a bakery since my early 20s,” said Samsudeen, 33, when we met him last year. “My earnings are not enough to meet routine expenses.
“Sometimes, I do construction-related labouring work to earn more to meet household expenses. [Being unable] to meet the basic needs of my family makes me frustrated and stressed.”
At Ramadan, the pressure ratchets up for Samsudeen as he faces the additional expenses of the blessed month and Eid festivities. It made it hard for him to observe fasting and prayer, and spend time with his family.
“I didn’t have much financial capacity to plan Ramadan. Earning was a priority, and so on certain occasions I failed to perform obligatory prayers and fasting. My children did their best to bring positive changes to my attitude.”
Helping families and uniting communities
In 2014, Samsudeen became one of over 25,000 poor people in Sri Lanka to benefit from Ramadan foodpack distributed by Islamic Relief. The parcel contained rice, lentils, wheat, powdered milk, sugar and dates. It helped his family when food prices rose during the holy month, and brought his community together.
“This year many vulnerable people received a food packet from Islamic Relief. As a community we felt joy to start Ramadan with the food distribution. We all participated in the food distribution, which has strengthened social interaction among poor families.
“The food pack is enough for the month. It has relieved our hardship to a great extent and protected us [from having to borrow] money. We could see the blessings of God through this food distribution, which has brought happiness.
“Now, I have become more familiar with fasting and offer prayers without fail. I feel happy doing good deeds. The blessed month creates changes in our family relationships. I take weekends off.”
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