A family in Sharjah has set up a community initiative to support low income families struggling throughout Ramadan by giving them essentials such as flour, rice and washing detergent.
Ayesha Sohail, 38, established the Facebook group UAE Fusion Socialites eight years ago with the aim of bringing the community together.
Since then, more than 19,000 members have joined the group and so far they have delivered free household essentials to more than 10,000 individuals and families across the Emirates to help them weather tough times.
We pack the boxes with 10kg bags of flour and rice, packets of noodles, washing powder, toiletries and other household essentials. If we can take away the burden of daily spending, that will help these people
During the pandemic last year, Ms Sohail, from Pakistan, helped distribute 2,388 grocery boxes – valued at Dh385 each – filled with flour, rice, oil, dates and other food essentials.
“I started the Facebook group as a way to socialise with people but after a few meet ups I quickly realised that we could use it as leverage to help people,” she told The National.
“Initially, we started packing and delivering boxes to individuals during Ramadan because a lot of people are away from their families at this time.
“We pack the boxes with 10kg bags of flour and rice, packets of noodles, tang, washing powder, toiletries and other household essentials.
“If we can take away the burden of daily spending, that will help these people in the long run.”
UAE Fusion Socialites works by people in need sending a private message to Ms Sohail on Facebook.
Their requests are then posted to different members of the group who offer to pack, pay and deliver a grocery box to that person or family.
Over the past week, Ms Sohail has packed and handed more than 300 grocery boxes to delivery drivers, labourers and grocery boys in Dubai, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain, in time for Ramadan.
“I have lived in the UAE for 28 years and I know some people are struggling financially,” she said.
“I just feel it is my duty to give back to a community that has given so much to me over the years.
“We have been doing this for seven years now and the community keeps growing, which means every year we get to help more people in need.”
“We have helped residents from all walks of life including a lady who was born with no legs and a carpenter that was struggling to support his family.”
Ms Sohail, who brings her husband and 12-year-old son out on delivery trips, said the initiative wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without the help of social media and “the kind UAE souls”.
Throughout the entire Holy Month, the Sohail family and other group members will respond to as many requests as possible and hopes to exceed last year’s target of 2,388 boxes.
Speaking about the power of social media platforms enabling community initiatives to reach far and wide, Rawya Abdel Kader, communications manager for Facebook MENA, said there have been many examples of this in the UAE.
“It’s so often in times of crisis that we see the best in people, and the remarkable ways that technology is used,” she said.
“In recent weeks we have seen inspiring examples of individuals and groups helping each other on our platforms, such as Ayesha Sohail, who through her Facebook group UAE Fusion Socialites is encouraging the group’s over 19,000 members to donate groceries to low-income families.”
On the eve of Ramadan, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid unveiled a major campaign to fund 100 million free meals in 20 countries across the region.
A website set up for the campaign allows people to donate as little as Dh10 to fund 10 meals, rising to Dh500.
Published: April 12, 2021 07:00 AM