The Islamic month of Ramadan can be a challenge for anyone, as it involves a full month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. However, for Ghania Dib, principal lawyer of GDA Lawyers, Ramadan in 2021 presented a unique opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the people of Lebanon, currently in the grip of a political and economic crisis caused by both COVID-19 and the Beirut Blast. Insights spoke to Ghania about her pledge to run 200km during the month of Ramadan, how the challenge is going, and how fellow lawyers can pitch in and help.
How a forty hour famine became a 200km fast
Initially, Ghania had planned on completing a challenge similar to the forty hour famine, open to all members of the community. She hoped to raise money for Penny Appeal Australia’s Global Emergency Relief Challenge.
“It encourages the community to ‘Take Charge’ against global injustice by supporting Penny Appeal Australia’s global emergency relief projects during the Islamic month of Ramadan which commenced on Tuesday 13 April 2021,” explained Ghania.
“As part of that challenge, Osman Karolia of Unity Grammar College pledged to run 300km during the month of Ramadan. Running 300km during any four week period is quite an admirable feat. The fact that Osman had pledged to do that during Ramadan, when as Muslims we fast between sunrise and sunset, was very inspiring.”
She found out about the Penny Appeal Challenge on social media, and asked Osman for more information.
“One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I had joined the Penny Appeal Challenge by pledging to walk/jog/run 200 km during the month of Ramadan,” said Ghania. “My goal is to raise $50,000 to assist the disadvantaged and displaced people of Lebanon who are facing insurmountable hardships resulting from Lebanon’s economic and political crisis, the after effects of the Beirut Blast of August 2020 and the health crisis magnified by COVID-19.”
Ghania hopes that her contribution to the Penny Appeal Australia challenge will help fund food packs and other essential forms of assistance for the people of Lebanon.
Beset by early illness, now on track
Walking, jogging or running 50km a week is no mean feat. It works out to about 7-7.5km a day.
“The challenge for me has been finding the time to walk for over an hour each day,” explained Ghania. “I run my own practice and spare time is a luxury on the best of days. Since Ramadan has commenced, I have generally had to leave my office at 4pm so that I may make it home in time to assist with preparing my family’s Iftar, the meal to break our fast. This has meant having to start work earlier than usual to enable me to meet my work commitments. The flow on effect of this is that during the work week, I have little time during business hours to fit in 7.5 km of walking.”
She has adapted by doing most of her weekday walks in the evening, sometimes with children in tow. On weekends, she returns to walks during the day, and catches up on any distance shortfall incurred during the busy week.
“During the first week of Ramadan, I became unwell on days 3 and 4 and struggled to get any walking in,” Ghania said. “I thus had a substantial shortfall when the weekend rolled around, and I ended up walking almost 30km during the first weekend of Ramadan while fasting without food or water, to make up the difference. I had to really push myself to walk that much while not being able to drink any water. The water was really my biggest challenge. Since then, my body has adapted and I am able to walk for 1 – 3 hours while fasting depending on the weather.”
She’s now on track, and expects to hit the halfway point by the end of day 14, or Monday 27 April.
Helping people abroad and closer to home
It’s a challenge much in line with her work. As principal lawyer of her own practice, GDA Lawyers in Revesby, much of her caseload comes from family law, followed by wills & estates, which includes family provision claims, and civil and commercial litigation.
“I am also a Nationally Accredited Mediator, a child inclusive Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, AIFLAM Arbitrator and Collaborative Lawyer. I am fortunate to be a Mediator and FDRP on the Legal Aid Early Intervention Panel, the Law Society Family Law Settlement Service, the Law Society Mediators Panel and Immediation Family Law Panel.”
“I focus on providing a progressive, facilitative and collaborative approach to the law,” said Ghania. “I enjoy assisting my clients by providing them with workable solutions to their legal issues. Quite often, this may mean utilising alternative dispute resolution practices to provide a desired outcome at a much more affordable price point. I find satisfaction in seeing the impact that my legal services have on my client’s lives and in many instances on the lives of their children. Knowing that I helped a family law client navigate their way through one of the most challenging periods of their life is rewarding. Seeing my clients come through the other side of the process feeling stronger and more assured of themselves is also rewarding.”
How to support Ghania Dib’s 200km Penny Appeal Challenge
“Supporting my Penny Appeal Australia’s Global Emergency Relief Challenge Campaign is really as simple as making a donation via my campaign page: http://launchgood.com/ghaniadib200k,” said Ghania.
“The concept of crippling hunger is alien to many of us. Unfortunately, this Ramadan there will be thousands of disadvantaged people in Lebanon, including Syrian refugees, who will not be able to afford a single, proper meal all day. Lawyers can help me to make a difference to the lives of many by donating generously. As little as $100 is enough to provide a meal for 50 people, while $360 will provide food and supplies to last a family for up to three months.””