Our Ramadan ‘buddy scheme’ 2024 – sharing and understanding

Staff from across West Midlands Fire Service come together for a day of fasting.

newsmode

News

Reading time approx: < 1 minute
Published on 15 March 2024

Staff from across West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) came together to observe a day of fasting, as part of our ‘Ramadan Buddy Scheme’.

Returning for a second year, the scheme is organised by our Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equality team (DICE).

The fast for non-Muslim participants lasted from 9am until 6.13pm, or the regular fasting hours for those who wanted to experience the full day (sunrise to sunset).

It proved a real success and culminated in those involved joining one of our chaplains, Imam Mohammad Asad, at our headquarters for Iftar – the fast-breaking evening meal. He was joined by Khadija Sulaiman, the Multi-Faith Lead Chaplain for West Midlands Police.

WMFS staff members at an Iftar event

'My fasting experience'

With the scheme proving more popular than ever, we found out why our staff decided to get involved in the day.

Majid Mohammed – Crew Commander, Ward End

“I have really enjoyed getting my crewmates involved in my faith, so they can learn about it. Many people don’t understand the fasting process and why we do it. But when you break it down and explain how it’s about appreciation for the things we have, that so many don’t, people begin to understand.

“Whatever little bit of food we have, the roof over our head, the job – it’s about educating people about why we do this.

“Four members of my staff from Ward End Fire Station have been involved in the process and it means a lot. I appreciate their support. The scheme has been received really well.”

Crew Commander Majid Mohammed

Sofia Mahmood – Head of Finance and Procurement

“I joined West Midlands Fire Service in July and this is the first time I’ve seen a scheme of this type in an organisation I have worked for.

“Highlighting the month of Ramadan, which helps Muslims feel heard and seen, is so important.

“To see other members of staff joiing in, people that don’t normally observe this month, has been great. So many people have taken the time and effort to experience it for themselves and I find that amazing.

“It’s made me think ‘What don’t I know about other religions and some of their traditions?’. I think for Muslims that work in the service, this scheme has made us feel like people are taking an interest in our religion and beliefs.”

Head of Finance and Procurement - Sofia Mahmood

Nick Diamond – Purchasing Officer

“I signed up for the buddy scheme to develop empathy towards our colleagues and friends who show such devotion to their faith.

“I wanted to learn some more about it – it’s a beautiful thing. This was the perfect opportunity to get involved and give it a go.

“The day of fasting has been harder than I thought it would be but, ultimately, it’s been rewarding. I missed water the most. The hunger peaked earlier in the day and I felt like I got used to that, but not being able to have a drink was most difficult.”

Nicholas Diamond - Purchasing Officer

Imran Lal – Senior Multimedia Developer, Command Development Centre

“For me, this scheme spreads awareness about the Muslim faith and Ramadan.

“I’ve been with the service for almost 20 years now and a few of my colleagues have taken part in the one-day fasting event.

“This scheme is really about that awareness. For example, if in the day we’re busy doing assessments they understand now if, one of the days, I’m not at my best.

“As a British Muslim, I love sharing my faith with my colleagues and friends. I am all for that. It’s similar to me sharing the enjoyment of Christmas!”

Imran Lal – Senior Multimedia Developer, Command Development Centre

Rani Masih – Pensions Practitioner

“I wanted to get involved in the Buddy Scheme as I wanted to understand what others go through during the month of Ramadan and find out what the fast involves.

“I thought it would be really difficult but, because I knew my colleagues were participating and supporting one another, I had that motivation to continue.

“At around 2pm, I became thirsty. But I was supported, and it gave me a great understanding of how some of my colleagues worship.”

Rani Masih - Pensions Practitioner