Posted by Guest on June 23, 2017 in Blog

5515ae57-3df6-41b2-93c6-8d7112bea885.jpgBy Dina Al Zubi

Growing up, iftars have always been my favorite part of Ramadan; water after a long day, a feast with wonderful food, and being surrounded by a feeling of celebration and appreciation for community (and the meal, of course). 

Last week, on Thursday, June 15th, AAI hosted its fifth annual Generations Iftar. The AAI team, Generations network, friends, and family gathered to break the fast of the day, share a meal, and connect. Those of us who are new to the AAI family had the chance to meet and talk to those who have been with AAI for longer, and old friends got to catch up. In light of the difficulties this year has presented, it was refreshing to be surrounded by a light-hearted community gathering. 

DSC_2808.JPGIn addition to having this space for community and connection, AAI and the Iftar guests came together to raise money for Basmeh & Zeitooneh.  Based in Lebanon, Basmeh & Zeitooneh is an organization that is dedicated to serving Syrian and Palestinian refugees and vulnerable communities throughout Lebanon. Utilizing a “Community Center Approach”, they work to provide relief, psychosocial support, vocational training and education. From arts programs to peace education, Basmeh & Zeitooneh offer some of Lebanon’s most vulnerable populations a safe space to seek relief, comfort, and community, filling a gap that international aid organizations have been unable to address. Since launching in 2012, they have helped more than 15,000 Syrian refugees in Beirut alone, employ 100 full-time staff, and are working to expand their work to Turkey. 

As Ramadan is nearing its end this year, I am grateful for the atmosphere that iftars bring; the community coming together in normal days, to cherish our meals and those we share them with, and to think of how we use our spaces of gathering to be of service and support to our broader community.

Link to Facebook photo album here.

Dina Al Zubi is a summer 2017 AAI external intern at Just Vision.