Over the last few months, Bait-ul Ilm and STEP students in Tanzania and Religious Education Centre (REC) students in Zambia participated in fun-filled educational activities. Read more below about the activities and watch the video below to see the students’ activities.
On March 19th, a “Nawruz Carnival” was held in Upanga Jamatkhana for all BUI secondary students and alumni students. Students partook in various activities led by STEP teachers and a team of volunteers to allow them to explore the occasion of Nawruz and its celebrations around the world. Students were led to appreciate the historical context of the occasion and connect it to how we celebrate it today, partake in various ways Ismailis in Tanzania celebrate Nawruz, and also make connections to the ginan and farmans related to this occasion.
As a way to understand Nawruz celebrations better, students participated in activities like candle making, a treasure hunt (to explore the significance of the Nawruz juro), a haft sin table game, a dress-up and shoot stall, and even a henna corner! The event ended with students having some chai and biscuits to relax whilst chatting happily about how much fun they had. Students across the country also participated in learning about the haft sin table in different parts of the country, including Dodoma.
On February 12, the Zambia Religious Education Centre organized a quiz competition for students from nursery to grade six. The quiz engaged students in sharing their learnings about the Qur’an, the Prophets and the Imams. Students were provided with prior materials to learn and prepare for the quiz.
All of the students participated wholeheartedly and prepared for the quiz competition, which portrayed their efforts, as well as their parents. The competition was challenging, but we had our winners who were awarded with a trophy and all of the students were recognized for participating in the quiz. The Zambia REC will conduct more such events in the near future, which will encourage the students to learn more about their religion and faith in an interesting and fun manner.
On March 5th, all Dar es Salaam Bait-ul Ilm secondary students and teachers visited the Sikh Temple located near the City Centre. Students had a chance to enter into the Gurudwara’s main prayer hall (called the ‘divan hall’) and understand the different elements of that space. They were also able to learn about Sikh’s ways of worship, ask questions about the different aspects of their faith, and even taste their kadha prashad (a sacred halva-like dish offered to visitors).
This visit allowed students to make connections to the similarities and differences of Sikhism with our faith and gain an understanding of the concept of equality amongst human beings (even with regard to religious beliefs). The trip culminated with students and teachers being served a simple but delicious snack near the Langar (the Gurudwaras public kitchen space). Overall, a warm welcome was given to all the students and teachers by the Sikh community representatives and volunteers. Both sides expressed the hope that such visits would take place in the future too. The visit to the Sikh Gurudwara also enabled the students to learn and explore a tradition that is beyond the Muslim Community (Ummah) and also the Ahl-al-Kitab, and appreciate the notions of inter-faith dialogue and pluralism.