Young and old of differing backgrounds and faiths, but with a shared home of the Waterloo community, joined together for their first ever community Iftar this week.
Local businesses and restaurants on Lower Marsh worked together for the Community Iftar, providing a free meal for the Waterloo community to share as local Muslims ended their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.
The Iftar was the idea of a group of 19 women who come together to serve the local community, many of whom know each other through the two local Oasis academies, Johanna and South Bank – there are parents, staff and students in their number!
Tara Penny, Associate Principal of Oasis Academy Johanna, says; “Tonight has been a fantastic event for our local community, and so many of our pupils who have come out with their parents during their half-term break.”
“We are so fortunate to have such great engagement with our families, and our local community.”
At the event, local residents and families met together to socialise and do craft activities together while the children played games before sharing food after the sunset at 9.04pm.
Islamic Relief, the Oasis Charity, and Christian Aid, who all have centres on Lower Marsh, also worked together to support the event.
Tufail Hussain, Interim Director of Islamic Relief UK, said; “We thank Oasis and Christian Aid for helping to bring the community together at this very special Iftar in Waterloo. Local businesses, restaurants and our dedicated team of volunteers all helped to make this a very special occasion. It was wonderful to see everyone so happy together. Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, where we remember those less fortunate. The Iftar gatherings have traditionally brought us closer together as a Muslim community and it's great to see this being used to bring the wider community together too. I hope this is the start of a permanent fixture in Waterloo.”
Steve Chalke, Founder of Oasis and leader of Oasis Hub Waterloo, says; “We are delighted to have been a part of this fantastic Community Iftar for Waterloo.”
“All credit must go to the brilliant group of local women whose idea this was - they have been brought together by sharing a desire to build community in Waterloo, and we so value their activism and enthusiasm.”
“We are also extremely grateful to our friends at Islamic Relief who partnered with us for this event. We are hopeful that we might be able to encourage other Oasis hubs around the country to also consider supporting hosting Community Iftars next year and in the future.”