As the Muslim world celebrates the month of Ramadan, streets fill with lanterns, lights and crescent moons. The wafting aromas of traditional desserts mix with the sound of the Maghrib call to prayer. Families gather every evening to break their fast, sharing a daily moment of togetherness and comfort. With all the beauty and love that is shared in Ramadan, it also offers us an opportunity to understand that not everyone has the good fortune to be surrounded by family, or to have enough to feed their children, or to even have a home to go to at the end of the day.
The Holy Month is a time to reach out; it’s a time to search for those who may not ask for help, but who could always use it. This year, we decided that they could probably use a few angels being sent their way. The Angel Drones is an initiative by Al Rifai, hoping to help families and individuals across Lebanon by offering them the relief they need, through the donation of clothes, food and other essential items. The Drones were sent out to deliver their packages, delivering these items to those in need and helping them enjoy Ramadan in all its beauty.
Fatma lives in Noueiri where she works as the concierge of a building. Her husband passed away a few years ago, leaving her to take care of 3 children, a 10-year-old son and 16-year-old twin daughters. She wants to give her children the best possible chance in life and so she works every day to be able to provide for them.
Sabira lives in Dalieh. Her home has been demolished, but she still lives in its ruins because she has nowhere left to go. She takes care of her 2 grandchildren, both under 2 years old. Without support from any family members, Sabira is left to fend for herself and her grandchildren, exposed to the elements in Beirut.
Samia is in her eighties. Other than her older sister, whom she lives with, Samia has no surviving family members or any kind of support, emotional or financial. Unable to work, she faces every day wondering how to take care of herself and her sister.
Mohammed is a calm, quiet man. He roams through the streets during the day and has nowhere to go at night, so he sleeps wherever he can lay his head. Consistently abused by a family member, Mohammed spends his days hoping for a better tomorrow.
Samira and Amina are sisters. Young as they may be, they don’t go to school, or birthday parties. They don’t get to do any of the things most girls their age do. Instead, they have to support their family by selling tissues and lighters by the side of the road. They start early in the morning and will not return home until all their goods are sold – which can mean that some days they spend all night by themselves roaming the city.
Amina and Mohammed live in a single room with their 7 children. The room barely has enough space for the nine of them. Even with Mohammed working hard, they aren’t able to buy essentials to care for their children. Without a stove their meals come in the form of basic nourishment. Without funds, they are only able to send their 2 eldest daughters to school. Amina, Mohammed and their family are currently under risk of eviction, meaning that soon, they could be living on the streets.
Name and story unknown, this family has been living under a bridge for months. With only their basic belongings in tow, they rely on the kindness of strangers to be able to get by.
The three brothers (names unknown) roam through Mazraa, always together for protection. None of them go to school and they try to get odd jobs here and there to support themselves. Without education or opportunity, the brothers have little to hope for.
Aged between 6 and 14, these boys get together every day to play football. Without access to electricity and living in cramped living conditions, their daily match serves as one of their only sources of entertainment.
Issam lives with his sister and 15 children in a dilapidated house, hoping that tomorrow will be better than today. He tries to support his family by cleaning windows and carpets, but with so many mouths to feed, every day is a struggle.
After Hajj Mohammed's wife died 11 years ago, he was left to live alone with his 35-year-old handicapped son. With both of them unable to work, they face a life of making ends meet by depending on their neighbors to help them eat and survive. Hajj Mohammed has 6 other children, but none of them are able to support him. Today, with all the obstacles that he lives with, he and his son are being threatened with eviction in the next 3 months.
Hajje Fatmeh has been confined to her bed for years. At 88, she only knows the inside of one room, from which she lives her daily life. After her daughter passed away, she now lives alone with her 28-year-old grandson and struggles with a variety of health issues which she can barely afford medicine for.
Amar is a Syrian refugee. Fleeing from the war in Syria, she came to Lebanon with her 6 children, but had to leave her husband behind to ensure the safety of her children. Both she and her husband suffer from illness. Two of her daughters are helping her try to make ends meet by working at a grocery, but she lives under constant stress and worry.
Stay tuned throughout the month of Ramadan as our Angel Drones stories continue.