“I DIDN’T EXPECT THE FEELING OF SOLIDARITY”

Netherlands Nuon employees got new insights when they were invited to join the Muslim fasting month.

In the Netherlands, Nuon employees were invited to sign up to experience the Muslim fasting month Ramadan.  In total more than 50 people took the chance to get new insights by celebrating the Muslim feast.

"The goal is to raise awareness of what our Muslim colleagues experience during this month and the deeper meaning of Ramadan. The Diversity & Inclusion organisation supports initiatives that contribute to the general feeling that you can be yourself at work," says Arjan te Wierik, Expert at the Diversity & Inclusion department.

Nothing is more infectious than a smile
The project is called Project R - The Invite. Wahied Amirkhan, Billing Department B2C at Nuon, led the project and says:

"Colleagues often know something about Ramadan, in particular that Muslims do not eat or drink anything then. But actually the main lesson of this month is developing your own skills which are hidden by the blur of everyday activities. We practice patience with each other in all situations. We create more understanding for others. We do not gossip or use abusive language, and we do not say anything bad about others. Not even in our thoughts. We reset our bodies and spirits. Respect is the top priority: we greet others with respect and in a friendly manner. There is nothing more infectious than a smile, even when there's a strong tendency to yawn from the hunger. We focus on the fact that nothing you have can be taken for granted. We waste an incredible amount of what can be very special for our neighbours. Just think about how much food and drink we throw away every day."

Sugar Feast ends the celebration
All employees  in the Netherlands were invited to participate. They could sign up for a workday, morning or afternoon, or even for the entire Ramadan period. In total 53 colleagues took part, ten of whom did so for more than one day.

Jurgen Claassens Teamleader at Sales Large Clients, was one of those who accepted the invitation:

"I expected that we would experience the difficulties from not eating or drinking, but I didn’t expect the feeling of solidarity. In fact I was overwhelmed with colleagues – Muslims as well as non-Muslims – who were very enthusiastic about my participation and wished me all the best during the entire day, until late in the evening."

This year, the Holy month Ramadan started on 26 May and ended on 24 June. On 4 July, Nuon employees are invited to celebrate the end of the fasting month with a so called Sugar Feast in the company restaurant at Amsterdam Hoekenrode.

"I am proud to work for Nuon. Nuon stands for diversity and respect. Project R has been by far my nicest, biggest and most fabulous project ever. I would like to thank everyone who helped with and took part in this wonderful experience, " says Wahied Amirkhan

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