This beautiful time of year offers us opportunity to reflect how though you may not have much, you may have much more than others. Listed below are 21 simple ways to spread the light of Ramadan, get involved, give back and pay it forward.
Words by Ipshita Sharma
Talented young adults with special needs from the Special Needs Future Development Centre have their own range of gifts made by them, with love. Host a bazaar of their handiwork in your workplace and all proceeds go back into the centre, based in Al Mankool.
04 334 9818. Special Needs Future Development Centre, behind Dubai Library.
While you might not intend to leave The Dubai Mall with a painting, a silent art auction takes place at Fashion Avenue during Ramadan and it’s for a great cause. The works of UK mixed-media artist and supporter of autism, Robi Walters, start from AED 25,000 and every fil raised goes to the Emirates Autism Society.
800 38224 6255
Assuage the guilt of an on-line splurge by adding between AED 5 and AED 50 donations to your spend. Digital shopping mall Noon will be matching every customer’s donation during Ramadan and giving it all to Dar Al Ber’s Scholarships Programme, supporting education and students in the UAE in need of academic financial aid.
Car insurance up for renewal? For every car insurance policy sold during Ramadan, comparison site yallacompare will throw in AED 500 of vouchers for brands such as Dial-A-Battery, El Grocer and Munchbox, Illusions Salon, Supermart AND give a free iftar meal to those in need. So you could save some cash and do good too.
Refugees from war-stricken countries and families who have lost their homes would be delighted to receive a bundle of clothes. Add one to the checkout at fashion store Namshi for AED 35 and help hit a target of 32,500 items of clothing donated.
Philanthropic organisation Dubai Cares works hard to make the lives of children and young people easier. Helping them achieve this noble aim is easy – watch out for collections at Lulu Hypermarkets requesting AED 1 in aid of Dubai Cares’ Water Sanitation and Hygiene in School programs in developing countries, and the opportunity to make a AED 5 donation in support of Dubai Cares’ girls’ education programs at stores in the Landmark Group – Splash, ShoeExpress, Spa, New Look and more.
Speedex is supporting Emirates Red Crescent in helping out labourers with everyday necessities. Drop in your donations at any of their stores with no obligation to buy.
Emirates Red Crescent boxes are at Speedex superstores in Al Quoz, Dubai Investment Park and Festival City. No purchase required for donations. 04 339 1929.
Fairmont Dubai has partnered with Al Noor training centre for persons with disabilities to transform a giant truck into a colourful canvas. More than 30 students were able to splash paint colors on the food truck, which is set to drive around Dubai throughout Ramadan to distribute iftar boxes to the city’s labourers.
Follow the bus on social media with “togethermakingadifference”. No purchase required. Fairmont Dubai. 04 332 2444
Beit Al Khair Society reaches out to families
One of Dubai’s largest charities will reach out to more than 25,000 families in need, 15,000 students, 533 widows, 470 elderly people, people of determination and emergency cases. This campaign includes the Zakat Al Fitr project, which gives out cash gifts to children of needy families and the Farah project, where low-income and vulnerable families have all their food needs provided for.
Charity boxes placed at stores across Dubai. For details contact 04 267 5555.
Meraas launches ‘Gift a Smile’
This joyful initiative is endorsed by the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity. Meraas will give away iftar boxes to visitors at City Walk and Al Seef during the first two weeks of Holy Month. The campaign will also see night markets and pop-up libraries, where visitors will be able to donate books and inspire others during Ramadan with motivational messages through ‘Smile’ photo booths.
The Beit Al Khair will be receiving contributions at City Walk, The Beach, Boxpark, Last Exit Al Khawaneej, The Outlet Village, Al Seef and La Mer.
The Tree of Life comes alive again
Since 2012, Arabian Center has worked with Red Crescent on the Tree of Life – a charity initiative inside the mall. For every contribution made, shoppers are invited to light a lamp on the tree which represents the change they’re bringing to the world. The donations collected at the mall in Mirdif annually reach more than 40,000 Syrian, Yemeni and Somalian refugees.
10am-10pm throughout Ramadan. Arabian Center, Al Khawaneej Road. 04 284 5555.
McDonald’s reaches out through education
For this Holy Month, McDonald’s UAE restaurants will be selling four exclusively created books for AED 5 each. These books for children deliver positive messages about education, cleanliness and charity. Emirates Red Crescent will invest all proceeds into programs in the UAE.
Across all McDonald’s UAE outlets. 600 588 885
Skydive Dubai is all about hydration
Skydive Dubai is working with Monviso’s ‘Take Water. Give Life’ initiative that donates AED 1 to Al Jalila Foundation for every one litre of water sold. Skydive Dubai has appointed the local mineral water brand as its sole water supplier and is helping to raise awareness about the campaign. To take part, all you need to do is order water through Monviso’s app and they will do the rest.
800 MONVISO. Offer available through the Monviso app.
Make donations in stores or online through the Al Tayer Group’s Amber loyalty points scheme. All donations go to Beacon of Hope UAE, with the aim of providing solar light kits to children in impoverished conditions, and there’s no need to buy before you give.
Across all Al Tayer partner outlets in the UAE like GAP, Bobbi Brown, Caffe Nero, Coach, Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales etc.
Salam Stores have announced a charity drive that will benefit the Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities. Donations of any nature can be dropped off at all of the stores in the UAE.
Across all Salam shopping centres in Dubai. 04 704 8484
Taxi app Careem is partnering with the UAE Food Bank and Dubai Municipality to pick up and deliver packages to your nearest Ramadan fridge absolutely free (see below for more information on the fridges project).
Access through the app.
This home-grown initiative is now working under the umbrella of the Emirates Red Crescent. Volunteers around the city are managing Ramadan Sharing Fridges and donations of food and soft drinks pouring in from people and companies. You can also drop off goodies at the Ripe Market every Saturday between 9am-5pm, which for the summer has moved into the Times Square Centre. No home-cooked food or warm meals please, but everything else will be taken to the nearest fridge.
A map of all the fridges is here. Search ‘Ramadan Sharing Fridges’ on social media.
One of our biggest malls is also working with Dubai Cares to celebrates the values of the Holy Month and the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This month-long event, 9-HIJRI, will have nine immersive zones with exhibits, workshops and showcases of Islamic heritage. The seventh zone, “Giving”, features a school-shaped installation of illuminated light bulbs that shoppers can buy. All funds raised will go towards Dubai Cares’ programmes.
10am-11pm. The Dubai Mall. 800 382 246255.
Shoppers can send greetings to loved ones through Disney pods placed around the mall, which will then appear with light and music in the Disney Magical Wishing Well, and captured as a photo they can send on. For every greeting shared, the mall will give one dirham to the Basma Campaign at the Al Jalila Foundation – an organisation dedicated to medical education and research.
10am-11pm. Dubai Festival City Mall, 800 332.
This will be the ninth year that laundry brand Omo has set about cleaning out our wardrobes with the ‘Share a touch of love’ initiative. Together with Emirates Red Crescent, clothes donation points have been set up around the city, including malls and scheduled courier pick-ups. Over the past eight years, they’ve collect one million items of clothing that have been cleaned, repackaged and passed to people in need. Find collection spots at Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, City Centre locations, Lulu, Fitness First, and many more spots.
Throughout Ramadan. Find your nearest donation point at www.facebook.com/OmoArabia
Pass on the Rove
Rovers can show they care by passing on the gift of an iftar buffet. For every purchase of a full price iftar at every The Daily restaurant, guests will receive a voucher for an additional iftar of healthy buffet eats. Visit another day, pass it on, or in the true spirit of The Holy Month, donate it to Mawaheb Dubai, an art studio for determined ones. Find a Mawaheb box at Rove City Centre, Rove Trade Centre, Rove Healthcare City and the newly-opened Rove Dubai Marina.
Iftar is AED 99 for buffet, Ramadan juices and soft drinks; AED 49 kids and under sixes dine for free. 7pm-10pm. www.rovehotels.com