In 2023, for the first time, Keech Hospice Care helped their staff celebrate Ramadan. Diksha Pike worked with their EDI group to create and deliver the activities. She explains why it's so meaningful to the hospice.

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Set up for Eid celebrations at Keech Hospice
The beautiful set up for Eid al-Fitr celebrations

Working with Keech's EDI group


Diksha Pike has been working at Keech Hospice Care for over five years. She’s Keech’s Learning and Organisational Development Manager – a role she describes as ‘broad, and lovely!’

Diksha also chairs the EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) group, which represents the voice of staff and volunteers across the organisation on a range of EDI issues. 

Last year, Diksha was proud to work with the EDI group and lead Keech in celebrating Eid al-Fitr for the first time as an organisation. 

Taking part in the whole spectrum of religious festivals is important to the hospice, and all staff were included in a day of fasting before breaking it together with Iftar.

It’s important – and extremely meaningful for staff, volunteers and patients at the hospice – to not only recognise, but actively celebrate, the whole spectrum of religious festivals. The hospice planned to do the same not just for Eid al-Fitr, and Christmas, but Diwali and Hanukkah  too.

Raising awareness about Ramadan


Diksha explains that their Ramadan plans started with sending out Ramadan and Eid guidance to their management team to help them support their staff and volunteers – with a number of informative communications throughout the month to raise awareness: 

“We sent out a Ramadan Mubarak (‘Happy Ramadan!’) email to all staff and volunteers, posted on our social media, and we decorated the hospice. We also put up an information stand in Valerie’s (Keech’s on-site restaurant). That helped people understand Ramadan and Eid: what it is, why people fast, how the fast is broken, and other useful information and resources.”

Keech’s Ramadan campaign included a number of informative emails to staff and volunteers, all with different focuses:

“The first was about what Ramadan is, where colleagues could pray and a timetable of activity for the month.

“During the second week, we invited staff to try to fast for a day. This was the first time we've ever asked them anything like that! Then all staff and volunteers were invited to break their fast at an open Iftar event in the evening.”

Some of the table decorations and gift bags at Keech's Ramadan celebration
Some of the table decorations and gift bags

Breaking their fast together at Iftar


Diksha’s team decorated the space with white, gold and blue colours, beautiful tablecloths, napkin rings, Ramadan banners, and tea lights – and made up gift bags for staff.

With prayer sounds playing, the fast was broken at 8pm with dates and water, once the prayer was complete (they help rehydrate the body, and bring blood sugar back up quickly).

The end of Ramadan is marked by breaking the fast with Iftar, and commencing the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. Keech planned an all-staff event to mark the occasion – and it proved extremely popular. Diksha says that they wanted a chance to celebrate together in the hospice:

"We planned a ‘High Chai’ – a South Asian inspired afternoon tea – and staff were welcomed to dress up for the event if they wanted to. There was also an opportunity for staff to exchange gifts by taking part in a Team Secret Eidie, which is an Eid version of Secret Santa.”

Diksha Pike works with the EDI group at Keech Hospice Care and helped lead celebrations of Ramadan in 2023

“Once everyone had their food, we sat down and all ate together which was really lovely… you could just tell how much we all kind of appreciated being together at that moment. I think it gave it a lot more meaning – to embrace it together, that was really lovely.” ~ Diksha

Doing it together – as an organisation


As the first time the hospice had celebrated Eid al-Fitr, Diksha adds that their EDI group and Senior Leadership team were really pleased with the level of engagement and support from staff and volunteers. 

Diksha explains that “it was really lovely to do it together as an organisation… to be part of something like this and really understand a different religion to our own.”

She says she was surprised at how many people at the hospice embraced the celebration: “I wasn't expecting many people to fast for the whole day and then stay after 8pm as well. But everyone embraced that.”

She and colleague Sanjidah, who planned the celebrations, both received cards from everyone who had attended, with messages to say thank you:

“One of them said, ‘thank you for last night. Your strength of faith shines through in how you conduct not just your life, but your willpower to follow your teachings,’…another said, ‘the whole evening was lovely and so beautifully laid out.’ And someone else said, ‘thank you for arranging a very lovely night. It's great to learn…and my face was aching from smiling and laughing so much. Thank you.’”

Another said, ‘It was great to embrace your culture and traditions. Thank you so much for a really lovely evening. It was great to open if tar with you all together.’

Photos from the Ramadan and Eid al-fitr celebrations at Keech Hospice Care
A few photos from the celebrations

The importance of embracing each other's beliefs


Diksha adds that inviting all staff to take part in the celebrations was important, helping them gain a deeper understanding of different religions: “I think everyone has a certain amount of understanding… people want to learn and embrace each other's religions.”

“It’s especially important for us because we have a lot of Muslim staff and we want to make them feel like we're not just celebrating Christmas and that they're not being left out of their holidays where they're celebrating Eid and Ramadan. 

“And as an organisation we can start to understand what that actually consists of for them. They could be fasting and they might need to have support during Ramadan, for example, because they have to start fasting at an earlier time or they break their fast later. It can be quite tiring for them.”

The next step for Keech, according to Diksha, is to develop and grow not just their Ramadan campaign, but the whole spectrum of celebrations, so that patients and their families can get involved too. It’s what’s helping Keech embrace and celebrate both their own diversity, and that of their local communities.