Teen Keeps Kids Engaged During Ramadan with Online Stories
Abstaining from food and drink is challenging enough for adults during Ramadan,
but for children it can be more so especially in the crucial hours before the breaking of the fast at sundown.
Those few hours before market of time comes along so they can forget about it for just a little bit.
Shafiya Salaliuddin is a 17-year-old Muslim Indonesian-American
who lives in Western Virginia just outside the US capital.
Every night ahead of sundown she hosts "Story Time with Shafiya",
a half hour interactive program retelling stories from the Muslim holy book "The Quran".
It aims at children aged 6 to 10 in the Washington DC area like 6-year-old Sophia in her name.
It's very good.
I like how she can like ask us questions and we can answer them.
And also I like how you can also raise our hands.
Young children may not be fasting for almost 15 hours as most adult Muslims are on the continental US,
but many parents want their kids to familiarize themselves with fasting
and also with religious studies during the holy month.
Yet my daughter is still learning to fast,
so while we wait for the call to prayer she can attend this positive activity.
She loves being read stories by Shafiya about the prophet's companions and other stories in the Quran.
"Story Time with Shafiya" is one of the online learning programs facilitated by Imam center,
a mosque and community center in Silver Spring Maryland.
We jumped at the opportunity.
This is a very brilliant idea for children aged 6 to 10 to have them participate in activities during Ramadan.
Shafiya Salaliuddin herself is a girl scout and has had experience with children before.
I mean I am the oldest of three, I mean four.
So I have experience like handling my younger siblings
and also I volunteer in Madrasa in my dad's class as an assistant teacher.
She admits children can get easily distracted in online learning
and that she herself may have lost communication skills during the pandemic,
but through her night-story time,
she hopes to entertain, educate and engage her young audience as they await the breaking of the fast.
Dania Iman in Western Virginia VOA news.