Monday, 15 May 2017

Ramadan Blog Hop 2017 - Childhood memories of Ramadan in Peshawar, Pakistan

EHSAS Khan moved to Scotland last November to study for a PHD in film studies at Glasgow University; he is from Peshwar, North-West Pakistan.  In less than two weeks, Ehsas will enjoy his first Ramadan in Scotland.

Ehsas in the mountains outside Peshawar, North Pakistan 

Ehsas is joining us for today's blog-hop to talk about his Ramadan memories as a child in Peshawar.

Ehsas, Thank you for joining us today.  Are you looking forward to your first Ramadan in Scotland?

Yes, kind of!  I am used to observing Ramadan in Pakistan in 40 degrees heat whereas obviously Scotland is much colder.  However the days are much longer in Scotland and this makes fasting seem like a really difficult task.  Being away from family and friends during Ramadan is really hard because we are used to having iftar with our large, extended family.  In Peshawar we have special food bazaars and other stalls during Ramadan which sell food specialialities such as pakoras and kebabs during the Holy month. 
Scotland obviously is not a muslim majority country so it does not have these tradtions and there is not such a special feeling during our Holy month.

Ehsas, can you tell us about some of your childhood memories of Ramadan in Peshawar?

I remember before Iftar (evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset) my family would sit outside on the mat on the floor in the family yard; my Granny would make Pakora's and other females in the family would make different dishes.  We used to have at least 8-12 different dishes for each Iftar. 
I always found Sahar (pre-dawn meal before fasting) really difficult and boring for me as it was so difficult for me to wake up.
During Ramadan we would have a half-day at school and we would come home earlier than normal to have fun and play cricket or hide and seek! 
At Eid we would receive new traditional clothes and shoes such as shalwar-kameez and shoes such as Peshwari chapal, which are special in my area.
I have happy memories of this time in my childhood; we (my brothers and sister) loved receiving Eid-y, money for Ramadan which was given to us by the elders in my family. 

When I was a child I also loved listening to Na'at which is poetry in praise of the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him.  Na'at is particular to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We listened to Na'at from loudspeakers in our village.  Junaid Jamshed was a former pop-star who became a Na'at khwa (a person who recites Na'at), and my family were massive fans of his.

Thannks for joining us on the Multi-cultural Kids Blog-Hop today Ehsas and we hope that you enjoy your first Ramadan in Scotland!

The holy month of Ramadan, which begins at the end of May this year, is an important month for Muslims across the world. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and is an important month for Muslims as it is the month when the Qur’an was first reveled to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and is considered to be the fourth of the five pillars of Islam.
I remember explaining Ramadan for the first time to my kids, Leah and Jaf. They were fascinated by the fact that people fast from sunrise to sunset. The older they get, the easier it becomes for them to understand why we as Muslims celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. It’s more than just fasting during the daylight hours - the holy month of Ramadan serves as a time of reflection, spending more time with the family, being grateful for everything we have, and providing to those in need.
Each fast is broken at the end of the day by a meal known as Iftar which in Arabic means, breakfast. Iftar is served at sunset during the month of Ramadan, and breaking the fast usually starts off by eating dates and drinking some water.
easy iftar recipes

A typical Iftar spread[/caption]
After prayers are said, then friends and family sit down to enjoy a filling meal that consists of salad, soup, various appetizers, rice, plenty of meats, and a whole dessert spread. Iftar is a social meal, and you’ll often find yourself with plenty of invites to come break your fast from friends, family, and even neighbors!
One of the kids favorite easy Iftar recipes is a simple Middle Eastern chicken and rice dish that I’ve been making ever since they were young. The recipe requires very little prep, and is ready in about an hour’s time - it’s also a great way for the kids to be involved in Iftar preparations - Jaffer likes to measure out all the spices that go into the recipe, and also helps me toast the slivered almonds while the rice is cooking.

Easy Iftar Recipes: Middle Eastern Chicken & Rice

easy iftar recipesIngredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb boneless chicken breast
  • 1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • salt to taste


  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and add in garlic and the ground beef along with the cinnamon, and pepper. Cook until the beef is evenly browned.
  2. Then add in the chicken stock, season with salt and add in the chicken breasts. Cover the skillet and cook for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Remove the chicken and shred. Return to the pan and mix in the rice. Cover the skillet again and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. Add more salt if required.
  4. While the rice is cooking, lightly toast the almonds in a pan. Stir often, making sure they do not burn.
  5. Once the rice is ready, garnish with pine nuts and serve.
easy iftar recipes
What are your favorite Ramadan recipes? Let us know in the comments below!
Ramadan for Kids 2016 | Multicultural Kid Blogs Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting its third annual Ramadan for Kids blog hop, where bloggers come together to share ideas for teaching kids about and honoring Ramadan. Don't forget to check out our blog hops from last year and 2015. Be sure to follow our Ramadan board on Pinterest for even more ideas and link up your own posts below!

Participating Blogs

Pint Size Gourmets on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Easy Iftar Recipes - Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice Middle Way Mom: All Things Ramadan Jeddah Mom: Why Muslims Give Fitra Before Eid in Ramadan? Sand in My Toes: 6 Ways to Get Kids Involved During Ramadan A Crafty Arab: 2017 Ramadan Crafts 30 Day Challenge Family in Finland: Childhood Memories of Ramadan in Peshawar, Pakistan

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Women in World History - A Multicultural Kids Blog Series

  • Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was born on November 12th 1978, and is a Pakistani journalist, filmmaker and activist. 
  • She has won many awards for her films such as Academy awards and Emmy Awards and she is the only Pakistani to have won two Oscars.
  • In 2012, the Pakistani government awarded her with the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian honour of the country.
  • In 2012, Time Out named her as one of the most influential people in the world. 
  • She is one of only 11 female directors who has won an Oscar for a non-fiction film.

Sharmeen was born in the city of Karachi in Pakistan.  Can you find it on the map?

Bahadur 3 (which means three brave ones) is a 3D animation which Sharmeen produced and directed in 2015.  It was the first computer animated feature length film in Pakistan. The story focusses on three eleven year old friends who want to protect their community from the evils that have invaded their city.
The film was the highest grossing animation in Pakistani cinema and the 7th highest-grossing film of Pakistan to date.

After you have watched Bahadur 3, you can discuss with your child:
  1. Which superpower would you like to have - super speed, super hearing or super intelligence?
  2. Who was your favourite character in the film - Saadi, Kamil or Amna?
  3. Would you like to become a film-maker and if so which kind of film would you like to make?

After you have watched the clip, discuss what your child thinks about the fact it is difficult for many girls in Pakistan to get an education.  My daughter Malika was horrified and wanted to run a poster campaign in Leith, the area we live in Edinburgh, as you can see from the below poster and the Instagram link, which is a video of Malika in full activist flow!!

As a follow on from the discussions on Sharmeen, you could explore the life story of another great Pakistani female activist, Malala Yousafzai.

The illustrations in this book are wonderful and my daughters, Malika and Ameenah, never tire of hearing this inspiring story...

Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs Join us for our annual Women's History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don't miss our series from 2016 and 2015, and find even more posts on our Women's History board on Pinterest: Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs's board Women's History on Pinterest.
March 1 modernmami on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 3 Reasons Why We Celebrate Women's History Month March 2 The Jenny Evolution: More Children's Books About Amazing Women March 3 Colours of Us: 32 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models March 6 modernmami: 103 Children's Books for Women's History Month March 7 A Crafty Arab: The Arab Woman Who Carved Exquisite Beauty into Science March 8 Hispanic Mama: 5 Children's Books About Latina Women March 9 MommyMaestra: Free Download - Women's History Month Trading Cards March 10 MommyMaestra on MommyMaestra on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Celebrating Women's History Month March 13 Crafty Moms Share: First Ladies and Eleanor Roosevelt March 14 Mama Smiles: Write Down Your Family's Women's History March 15 Bookworms and Owls: Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Associate Justice of the Supreme Court March 16 Creative World of Varya: 6 Quotes About Women from Various Religious Writings March 17 Knocked Up Abroad: 7 Ways Swedish Women Can Revolutionize Your Life Today March 20 La Cité des Vents on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Women in History or Women's Stories? March 21 Pura Vida Moms March 22 Melibelle in Tokyo: After Devestation, Life - Miki Sawada Mothers 2,000 March 23 All Done Monkey: Girls Who Changed the World March 24 playexplorelearn March 27 Family in Finland March 28 the piri-piri lexicon March 30 Let the Journey Begin
Don't miss our Women's History Month Activity Printables, on sale now! Women's History Month Activity Printables

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Four ways to teach your child about Kenya: Global Learning for Kids Series

WOULD you like to learn more about Kenya and hear stories from our friend Ammara, who has just moved from Kenya to Northern Ireland?

Please click on the below link to take you to our post on Kenya, which is part of the Global Learning for Kids Series, and part of the MultiCultural Kids Blog.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Summer journeys in Sichuan and Yunnan x

This summer we were lucky enough to spend one month in South-West China in Sichuan and Yunnan province.  In my day job I am a social worker for vulnerable BME children so I am aware of just how privileged my children were to have one month ago in the wilds of South-West China whilst many of the children I work with barely left their neighborhood over the holiday.  

I first went to China 15 years after after graduation and went to teach English in Wuhan, Hubei province.  My brother followed a short-time later and met his now wife Keng-Keng who is from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province.

For this trip I wanted to show and introduce my daughters Malika and Ameenah, to my China favourite hang-outs in Chengdu,the capital of Sichuan province and Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province and and of course the sublimely beautiful scenery outside the major cities.

First stop on our journey was the amazing Panda Research Base in Chengdu, Sichuan Province which is around one hour outside Chengdu. We organised a trip through the Chengdu Lazybones Hostel Templeside Poshpacker, which is a great hostel and located a five minute walk from one of Chengdu's major tourist sites, the Wenshu Monastery.

  The girls absolutely adored the pandas and they especially loved the baby pandas!!  This is such an amazing place to visit in Chengdu but it is best to arrive early as the crowds after midday are phenomenal.

New born pandas!

Baby Pandas!

I love this photo of Malika and Ameenah - this is typical comedy Ameenah!

The People's Park, Chengdu
人民公园, 成都市
Malika and Ameenah adored the People's Park in Chengdu and I was delighted to take them and show them the many delights inside as this was a favourite hangout of mine when I lived in Chengdu 14 years ago!  (Oh my i feel so old!!!)

The girls loved the ancient sugar art lollies; they loved spinning the wheel to choose their animal, they loved watching the hot sugar spun into wonderful shapes, and they loved eating them!

Ameenah and her 蝴蝶 !  (butterfly - hudie)

The girls loved watching the ancient art of Chinese water calligraphy in the park and watching the characters appear and quickly disappear...

Everywhere we journeyed to in China we found ourselves surrounded by crowds of young and old longing to have their photos taken with Malika and Ameenah.  Malika and Ameenah loved this for the most part but there were times they found the numbers of people overwhelming!

Ameenah attracted the most attention as many many folk both young and old wanted to touch her to see if she was real!!  People would frequently approach Ameenah, squeeze her arm and proclaim "hen pang" which means very fat in Mandarin and is viewed as a compliment!


I love this photo of Malika deep in thought at the People's Park...

After Chengdu we headed to Emei Shan, 峨眉山one of four Holy Buddhist mountains in China.  I had climbed the mountain twice before and loved the epic three day climb to the top, sleeping in ancient Buddhist monasteries on the way.  I knew that Malika and Ameenah wouldn't manage this so I planned a child friendly trip which would allow them to experience the joys and highlights of Emei Shan without undertaking a three day trek.

For the first night we stayed in the wonderful Teddy Bear Hotel in Baoguo Town which is at the bottom of Emei Shan.  The girls absolutely loved the Teddy Bear Hotel (as did I!) and would have happily stayed there for the remainder of the trip!

Our room was incredible with a carved wooden teddy bear face from ceiling to floor on one side of the room....and of course the room was full of teddies! 

The beef rice noodles on the breakfast menu were incredible!!

米線 -  mǐxiàn

Malika and Ameenah with the brilliant "Andy" - the laoban   - boss - of the Teddy Bear Hotel...

Crossing a very rickety old bridge on the way up Emei Shan...

After climbing Emei Shan, we took a quick trip to Leshan to see the world's biggest Buddha.  The journey from Baguo to Leshan is just over an hour which was very manageable for the girls.  However there were crowds from all over mainland China in July so not the most ideal time to travel with children.

On the way back from the Buddha we stopped to eat in Leshan and once again faced huge crowds!!

The next stop was Kunming 昆明, the capital of Yunnan Province: 云南

Malika and Ameenah were delighted to meet up with Keng-Keng's grannies, Nai Nai and Po Po.

Keng-Keng is a milliner and she made these wonderful hats for her grandmothers.  She has also recently made the hats for the latest Star Wars film.

The girls had so much fun meeting Keng-Keng's niece Candy and speaking Mandarin with her....

This is Baba Tang, Kengy's father, who is incredible with the girls - one of the most humble men I have ever met.

It was rainy season when we were in Kunming and Ameenah loved parading around the beautiful Green Lake with her rainbow umbrella.

I love this shot of the whole family spanning four generations and bringing together a Yunnan and Irish-Scottish-Moroccan family.

Beside the Green Lake Malika loved to swing upside down on the exercise equipment.

We also travelled to Dali, 大理,  an amazing town north of Kunming, which is home of the Bai people of Yunnan.  Behind the old town of Dali lies the sublimely beautiful Cangshan mountain range which we explored one day after taking a cable car to the West peak.

 The girls loved enjoying the simple Yunnan pleasures on CangShan - sitting and eating delicious cold noodles.  Yum!

Malika loved this traditional Bai outfit that we bought at the bottom of the mountain range.

After Dali we headed further North to an incredible town called JianChuan, 剑川.
Jianchuan is a traditional Bai town, full of artisans, stonemasons and master woodworkers.

We stayed with the local police chief (my brother had stayed there previously) in his wonderful Ming Dynasty house.

The girls loved staying here as the friendly police chief host loved teaching the girls martial arts and traditional Chinese painting!

We arrived in Jianchuan just in time for the fire festival which is mandarin is called the !!

(Huo ba jie).  Once again as soon as we hit town the crowds gathered to take photos of Malika and Ameenah!

Last stop on our journey was a trip to the sublimely beautiful Tiger Leaping Gorge and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

I had climbed in the gorge twice before and really wanted to share the experience with Malika and Ameenah.  We hired horses and off we went on our final adventure of the trip!!

I love this shot of the girls heading off on horseback into the mountains...

We stayed in an incredible guest house with the most amazing views across Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and I was really proud that the girls managed a two day trek in such an awesome landscape.

These photos of Ameenah capture the spirit of our final few days in Yunnan province!!

And a rare photo of the three of us at the top of the Gorge!