Help Support The Lamb Project So Muslim Children In Foster Care Can Celebrate Eid al AdhaWritten by Muslim Family Services Ottawa
Muslim Family Services of Ottawa (MFSO) in partnership with the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa (CASO) and CAS Friends is once again hoping to raise funds from local Muslims for their annual Eid al Adha Lamb Project.
The Lamb Project is an initiative that was founded last year through a partnership between CASO, MFSO, CAS Friends and the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa (CAFO). According to the communications department at CAS, “Here at the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa (CASO), we recognize the importance of highlighting and respecting the cultural and religious heritage of the children and youth in our care.” For this reason, the partners have been working together so that Muslim children in the care of CASO can participate in Eid al Adha and share this tradition with those around them.
The goal of the Lamb Project is to 1. Create awareness and educate service providers and foster parents about the meaning of Eid Al Adha and 2. Ensure every Muslim child in a foster home is able to celebrate as well as understand the significance of Eid Al Adha.
Last year we were able to witness the remarkable effect the project had on the families who received a lamb and their communities. Two families in particular decided to join forces and create a feast for the school the children in their care attended. This gesture had such an impact on the school that the Principal made efforts to create an Eid curriculum in order to teach students more about its importance and invited a local Imam to speak.
Andre Fontaine, Project Coordinator from CASO shared that, “…we (CASO) want to make sure the kids have a say as to where the 2/3 of the lamb go as well as go deliver it, it is a lot more meaningful for them because they really understand the impact of what it means to give to charity and to friends and family.” A majority of the youth in care chose to share their family portion of the meet with their birth families while some portions were donated to local shelters, and food banks that the children had previous experiences with.
During one of the deliveries to a local food bank, the children were offered a tour. During this tour. a special encounter occurred where a Syrian refugee family arrived in search of halal meat. Staff quickly recruited the children to personally present their meat donation to the family which was well received from the refugee family and had a powerful learning impact on the children.
According to Andre, “Research proves the more kids stay connected with their religion and their culture, the more success we are going to find, and that’s really important especially in foster care. We want to find as much success as possible for our kids in foster care because they’re the ones that are voiceless that struggle the most, so let’s make sure we find the most success as possible. It takes a village to raise a child so let’s be a part of that village.”
As Eid Al Adha is quickly approaching, we are looking to continue this incredible initiative. Our goal is to continue to provide children in care the opportunity to celebrate, learn, teach and share a bit of themselves with their communities. Eid is a special time of the year for all Muslims that everyone should be able to celebrate. We as a community need to highlight its importance to every child.
To continue this initiative and make it successful, both CASO and CAFO have contributed 2000$ to help reach the 6000$ goal. We are looking to the Muslim community and our local Mosques to realize the last 2000$. The money raised goes towards slaughtering a lamb for each child in care, which is an Islamic practice during Eid Al-Adha.
The lamb is then delivered by a group of volunteers to each family's home. Together the Muslim child and foster families learn about the division and distribution of meat and they deliver their portions accordingly.
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