HHUGS’ Eid Party: A Safe Space for Families
Eid is usually a time for celebration and laughter, but for our beneficiaries it can be an extremely sad time. Some of them have husbands, fathers, brothers, or sons in prison. They want to be excited about Eid, but it’s difficult to force a smile when you miss somebody so deeply. Parks and shopping centres are bursting with happy families, only highlighting the gaping hole in theirs. Their husband or father might well be absent, but their absence is a constant presence.
Other families are dealing with the aftermath of someone’s release from prison, or a raid on their home.
Though every situation is different, each family has something in common: their experience has left them scarred and isolated. When Eid comes around, they’re alone.
HHUGS reignites the spirit of Eid
Eid is supposed to be about the community – that’s why we begin the day with communal prayer and the Prophet (saw) encouraged us to go out of our way to greet each other. It’s important to us that HHUGS embodies this, and so every year we organise an Eid party for our beneficiaries in their localities. When they find themselves alone, we like to bring them together.
We invited our families to join us as we celebrated Eid Al-Adha in September. We got everyone into the spirit of Eid by decorating the space with balloons and banners. The food was gifted to us by donors, and we had every dish you could think of! It was a relaxing day for the parents, and a great chance for the children to run around and have some fun.
It’s more than just a party. It’s a safe space.
Yes, our parties give mums the chance to get together and have a chat while their children busy themselves with play, but it’s also a safe space where both parents and children can be themselves. They don’t have to hide any part of their lives or struggles, and they can find comfort in being around people who are experiencing similar hardships, safe in the knowledge that no one is judging them.
When we asked one of our volunteers how she felt the party helped our beneficiaries, she said: ‘HHUGS provides a beautiful opportunity for people who might not have the best experience of Eid to have a stress-free day, to sit back, and relax. Each year, it brings me joy to see all the love and happiness in the room. With laughter, food, games, and good conversation, it really does feel like Eid.’
The gift that keeps on giving
It wouldn’t be Eid without gifts so, of course, we had some gifts to share! Each year to enable our families to choose what their loved ones would appreciate most, we provided vouchers to ensure their children were dressed their best for Eid.
“The voucher was really helpful as you can use it in Primark and that’s where I get the children’s clothes. It’s saved me a lot of money,” says one beneficiary.
“The shopping voucher helped me out a lot. I’d highly recommend you to other people who are going through a similar hardship. Thank you for helping me during this difficult time,” says another.
We got everyone in the festive mood with a delicious Eid cake.that got everybody in the festive mood. We delivered one to each of our beneficiary families as a reminder that our help transcends financial assistance.
One mother says: ‘HHUGS is wonderful. Little details are very touching, such as the Eid cake we received.’
‘HHUGS is an incredible charity that keeps on surprising me,’ another adds. ‘We received the cake which was very nice. My daughter is at the age where she asks why we receive these gifts. I explained that Allah sends us help through HHUGS, and that they are there to help children whose fathers can’t come home.’
A holistic support system
We understand that our beneficiary families require so much more than financial aid. That’s why we provide a holistic support system that aims to see our families financially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy and happy.
Our annual Eid party acknowledges that an invitation to socialise, a gift voucher, or something as small as a cake can help families in desperate situations feel like they have something to smile about.
The Prophet (saw) said: “The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to the people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles…” (at-Tabarani)
We mustn’t forget that making someone smile is also an act of charity – and it costs absolutely nothing!