Melbourne based Benevolence Australia teamed up with Muslim Aid Australia (MAA) this year to run the successful ‘I’ll Fast With You’ campaign again in 2017.
The program was launched last year to bring new and reconnecting Muslims together to enjoy the blessed month of Ramadan in a supportive community environment.
This year saw an increased interest in the Community Iftar with over 400 people attending and the Annual Convert Iftar dinner which was sponsored by MAA with over 140 people attend with many saying this Iftar is the highlight of their Ramadan experience. Those attending have said it is the most rewarding event in their Ramadan calendar.
These events are wide reaching with people coming from all over the state and from all cultural backgrounds. It is so great to see such diversity in the Islamic community, which is not often seen.
In 2017, we have expanded our schedule to include two weekly Iftar dinners on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s which have been very successful. Many new people adding to the many thought provoking experiences and conversations whilst breaking fast.
It has been a great place to learn from one another, ask questions and feel more connected to Islam and the community. One convert said, “I am so happy that there is a cool, relaxing space to come to where I don’t have to break fast alone.”
This perfectly reflects common circumstances of converts where they find it can be challenging, confusing and lonely.
Without Muslim family or friends to share this month, the community hype and the many events taking place are easily missed.
Without support, fasting can become spiritually stressful, where the challenges of coping with hunger are coupled with feelings of isolation that their new religious practices bring.
The knowledge and perspective of a person who learns about Islam for the first time can be a profound and eye-opening experience.
Our hope is to empower new Muslims find their feet and be guided to the beauty of this religion.
Our aim is to invite the broader community to join us in welcoming the diverse convert community in a safe space without judgement or cultural segregation.
The way in which the community has come together to support the convert community has been a truly inspiring and enlightening experience, with many people donating in some form to the convert care program.
To keep the Convert Care Program and the I’ll Fast With You campaign running we are still in urgent need of donations.
We ask that you give in some way to the program to help make sure our events, training days and seminars are kept alive and with many new Muslims joining us every month, we aim to empower as many people as possible with nobody left behind.
Please visit www.benevolenceaustralia.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org