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A Ramadan day in the life

Narendra Shrestha / EPA

Muslim boy Sabir Ali, aged 8, looks across Kathmandu from a balcony during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan at the Jamia school in the Nepali capital on July 27, 2012.

Narendra Shrestha / EPA

Mohamad Udin Sekh, aged 12, a Jamia school pupil from Janakpur village in eastern Nepal.

Narendra Shrestha of the European Pressphoto Agency reports — The fasting month of Ramadan is a testing time for the young students of the Jamia Gaushia Ahsanual Barkat Islamic boys' school in Kathmandu, because they have to refrain from consuming food and drinking water from sunrise until sunset. About 30 students from around Nepal as well as neighboring India are accommodated, many of them from poor families. 

Their everyday ritual for the month begins at around 3 a.m. when they wake and freshen up for sehari (or suhoor), their morning meal. At around 4:30 a.m. they attend morning prayer, a process that is repeated at 1, 5, 7 and 8 p.m.

Narendra Shrestha / EPA

Schoolboys read textbooks at the Jamia school.

Narendra Shrestha / EPA

Boys attend the afternoon prayer.

During the day the students attend their regular classes but according to Mohamad Aslam, a school official, the boys are less interested in studying than usual and the teachers do not force them to attend. Hence, most of the time they play, chat and read the Quran. After sunset, they sit together for aftari (or iftar), the evening meal. 

Narendra Shrestha / EPA

A schoolboy sleeps with an Islamic textbook covering his face.

Narendra Shrestha / EPA

A group of boys play in a courtyard of the Jamia school.

Each student pays 2,000 to 3,500 Nepalese Rupees ($22 to $39) per month to cover tuition, food and accommodation at the school, which offers education from nursery to eighth grade. Apart from Islamic studies, Urdu and Arabic language classes, the school also provides English and math classes. After completing their education, two students each year get the opportunity to travel to Egypt for higher education.

 

Narendra Shrestha / EPA

The boys pray before eating 'aftari' (or iftar), the evening meal with fruits, vegetables and sweets, which breaks their daily fast.

Narendra Shrestha / EPA

The boys prepare to go to bed.

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