Fast-a-thon Raises Funds, Awareness
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 10:11
The Muslim Students Association held its annual fast-a-thon Monday to promote awareness about Muslim fasting practices, raising more than $2,500 in support of victims of the East African famine and drought crisis.
More than 150 people participated in the fast, according to MSA President Wardah Athar (COL ’13). The African Society of Georgetown, the Interfaith Council, the Georgetown University Bookstore and Students of Georgetown, Inc. sponsored the event. Proceeds will be donated to Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a Muslim organization that aids families and children in areas affected by natural disasters or resource shortages.
“The goal [of the fast-a-thon] first and foremost is to raise awareness and money for the East African famine and drought victims. It’s a really serious crisis that doesn’t get much news and press so we are hoping to bring some attention to that and raise money to send over there to help on the ground efforts to buy food and drinking water — the basics really,” Athar said. “The second goal is to introduce people to the Islamic practice of fasting, and so people fast from sunrise to sunset the way that Muslims do during the month of Ramadan.”
MSA Public Outreach and Relations Chair Muaaz Maksud (SFS ’15) said that the event was successful, but stressed that the group is still accepting online for the next few weeks. He hopes they will raise more than the $2,500 they have already collected.
The fast, like all Muslim fasts, lasted from sunrise to sunset, or approximately 12 hours. Athar and Maksud said that the fast was not difficult for them because they have done the fast many times during the month of Ramadan. However, for non-Muslim students like Caitlin Gilbert (COL ’13) it proved more difficult.
“The eating part was okay; the drinking part was a huge struggle,” Gilbert said. “It wasn’t the worst thing in the world. You have to put it in perspective of why we’re doing this — because people don’t have the ability to cheat, they actually don’t have food. I kind of tried to remember to put it in perspective.”
Participants gathered in the Fisher Colloquium Monday evening to break the fast together, pray, hear about Helping Hands from Regional Coordinator Asif Khan and watch a fashion show by East African designer Ma Winny Casey.
Casey said she was glad to participate in an advocacy event organized by college students.
“I think when young people show the world what is going on it makes the adults get more aware,” Casey said. “But we, the grown-ups, have to do something.”
Charlotte Japp (COL ’13) said that the fast helped her learn more about the cause she was supporting.
“It’s easy to contribute money, but when you actually fast it’s a better engagement with the cause,” Japp said.