Ramadan Stories: Meet the teacher walking 15km every day during Ramadan

PE teacher Ian Galas at GEMS Royal Dubai School was so inspired by the discipline and commitment of Ramadan, that he decided to honour the season by walking 15km every day.

Ian Galas outside the local Mosque in Mirdiff on his ‘Ramadan Walk’

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing that comes into my mind is to thank God for the blessing of a new day. I also ask myself every day – what can I do today to help others and make them happy? I do not have many material things to give but I have plenty of patience, determination, commitment, happiness and drive to inspire others. When I go to bed every evening, I always sleep better knowing that I made somebody feel happy and valued in my own little way.

This is what prompted and inspired me to take on the Ramadan walk this year. Ramadan teaches the practice of self-discipline, self–control, sacrifice and empathy for those who are less fortunate, thus encouraging actions of generosity. I have always dreamed of being able to inspire others to do something kind and thoughtful.

I wake up at 3.45 am to prepare and make sure that I start my walk by 4.10 am so that I can get to school by 7.20 am.
I have committed to doing this every day throughout Ramadan.

The 15km walk takes me around Mirdiff, and it also symbolises the 15 years anniversary of RDS. I’ve been at RDS for 12 years now and my ultimate goal is to teach our children a life lesson that goes beyond just physical education by being a role model, showing a positive attitude, respect for others and humility. 

With students spending most of their waking hours at school, it is up to us teachers to create a positive and inspiring environment where they can do their best work.

I usually walk alone – it’s a very early start – but my wife Aubrey, who works at The Winchester School – Jebel Ali, joins me for support on Fridays. 

This is a very challenging endeavour, but it is also a most rewarding one. I get to do something for the environment for which I care so deeply and a chance to support a charity.

The whole school community can get involved in their own time – I know it’s too early for most people. However, if they are unable to do the walk they can also support and contribute to the school community’s spirit of goodwill and charity by doing the following: 

  • Recycle 15 single-use plastic bottles at school to help the environment. 1 bottle per kilometre.
  • Make a donation to Dubai Cares
  • Bring old books to school to support the ‘Old Books for New Eyes’ project
  • Perform random acts of kindness in your community

I am very lucky and blessed to be part of the GEMS family and GEMS Royal Dubai School, as there are so many great staff and people who inspire me to be better, and be the best version of myself. 

I want to encourage simple people like me to dream big, work hard and be an inspiration for our students.