What Ramadan means to me - with Mo Chalabi

Senior digital consultant at Beca, Mo Chalabi begins his month-long fast today for Ramadan. As an Egyptian growing up in Aotearoa, Mo was introduced to Ramadan by his mother as a child and fell in love with the meaning behind the holy month. 

Mo Chalabi

Mo, tell us about Ramadan and what it means to you

I remember as a child, I'd slowly increase the number of hours I'd fast and when it was time to eat, the whole family would get together - it was such a special time. I also vividly remember counting the seconds till we could break the fast while watching my grandparents prepare the most delicious food!

As well as a month of fasting, Ramadan is about spiritual reflection, connectedness and devotion. Muslims are encouraged to read the Quran, perform additional prayers, and engage in acts of charity and kindness during the month.

As an Egyptian, Ramadan is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion in my homeland. Most of us have many Ramadan traditional practices and customs that are specific to our culture making it a truly special experience. Some of the traditions include getting together for meals, visiting relatives and decorating the streets with lanterns and colourful lights.


In Eqypt, traditional lanterns are used during Ramadan

I always reflect on the special atmosphere felt during Ramadan and the strong sense of community and charity work. Muslims are reminded to be generous and increase their charitable activities during Ramadan, this may include donating food or goods and volunteering.

The end of Ramadan is marked by the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, a festival that brings together family and friends to celebrate the end of the month-long fast.

The team at Beca are always very supportive of Ramadan and give me the freedom to change-up my work days so that I can start and finish earlier. I enjoy sharing treats with my team and am often invited to speak about the significance of Ramadan. It's a warm and welcoming environment that celebrates different traditions and brings people together.

Why did you choose a career in mechatronics engineering?

My dad is a computer engineer, so I was introduced to engineering at a young age. I grew up admiring how dad could solve problems using a combination of hardware and software. For me, engineers have an important role in bringing science to reality and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

What drives you professionally? 

As a digital consultant, I'm driven by a desire to see more organisations leverage technology to enhance their operations and, in turn, improve the quality of life for all New Zealanders.

I’m also committed to narrowing the digital equity gap/digital divide that currently exists between different communities across New Zealand by sharing my knowledge and experience as I develop as an engineer.

Connect with Mo on LinkedIn