Muslim Chaplaincy provides Ramadan services to Laurier students
As the term comes to an end, Muslim students on campus are observing the holy month of Ramadan, a yearly spiritual time for reflection and fasting.
“Ramadan is a very special time period for Muslims,” said Selda Sezen, faculty and Muslim Chaplain at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Ramadan follows the lunar calendar and this year it falls right during the exam period at university. Sezen said that this can be challenging for students, especially those who live away from home, who have to fast and break their fast away from family.
Muslims who observe Ramadan break their fast at sunset, during a meal known as Iftar. The “meals on wheels” initiative run by the Muslim Chaplaincy of Laurier provides Iftar meals to students.
“We have been delivering and serving Iftar dinners to students who are observing Ramadan away from their families in Kitchener-Waterloo,” Sezen said. They offer these dinners on campus and for pickup in certain locations.
This initiative started two years ago, and they are now serving over 100 students.
“Our valuable community members are sponsoring our Iftar dinners by offering sweets and individually packed dessert and healthy snacks for students during the exam term.”
She is grateful for such community members that help with this project, including the Women Empowerment Society and WeAreHumaniti.
Additionally, the Muslim Chaplaincy partners with the Muslim Student Association on campus to host prayers for students and to break their fasts together.
“This is a great support for students who do not have their family here or who have no opportunity to go to the Mosque,” Sezen said.
“We are creating a small community on campus to welcome these students and make them feel that they are a part of a larger community.”
She said that all students are invited and welcome to join Iftar dinners.
They also give charity to community organizations during this time.
“Social supports are important this month,” Sezen said. “Knowing the importance of good deeds and the importance of supporting your community encourages and motivates Muslims on campus to get together to give each other a hand and support each other.”
“Developing this sense of belonging on our campuses is very important and affects students’ self-identity and academic success,” Sezen said.
“When [students] are welcomed and have found a space, they can express themselves, feel accepted and secure in themselves, which affects overall wellness.”