SHAFAQNA- Some students at Frank W. Begley are going without food or water during the day this month in order to observe the holy month of Ramadan.
Many of the kids at the inner-city elementary school weren’t born in Windsor or even Canada. Nearly half of the students are Muslim. Mujtaba Albazaz and Asraa Asheti are in Grade 4. The 10-year-olds are observing Ramadan, and fasting for the first time.
“The dehydration is increasing, the energy source of your body is actually decreasing, making you weak,” explained Albazaz. “Basically it’s all about the patience, technically how people feel with no food, no hunger, no safety and shelter.”
Asheti was having a tough time too.
“The biggest challenge is when you run you get really tired and thirsty,” she said. “You don’t have any water to drink because you’re fasting. you can only swallow your saliva and it’s pretty hard because there isn’t that much saliva to swallow.”
Fasting from sun up to sun down is obligatory for Muslim adults around the world, but less so for children.
Begley Vice Principal Mohamad Ayoub said of the roughly 550 students a the school about 50-60 per cent follow the Muslim religion.
“I would say half of those students are fasting,” he said. “So we have about 150-200 students who are observing Ramadan.”
About 10 staff members ar the school are fasting too.
“We find that even the non-Muslim staff will occasionally participate just to understand where students are – with thirst or hunger – and then be culturally responsive with our education practices as we move forward,” explained Principal Robert Savage, who is not a Muslim, but has learned about Ramadan first hand.
Meanwhile, the students said they can’t wait for sundown when they can finally get their fill.
“Chicken wings, fries, chicken tenders, pizza, stuff like that,” said Albazaz.