A family in Sharjah has set up a drive to support people on low incomes during Ramadan, by providing essential dry goods and cleaning products.
Ayesha Sohail, 38, set up Facebook group UAE Fusion Socialites eight years ago, with the aim of bringing the community together and helping those in need.
Since then, more than 19,000 members have joined, delivering household essentials, free of charge, to more than 10,000 in-need individuals and families across the Emirates.
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 Ramadan last year, Ms Sohail, from Pakistan, helped her group to deliver 2,388 grocery boxes, valued at Dh385 each.
“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.”
People in need of assistance from UAE Fusion Socialites can send a private message to Ms Sohail on Facebook.
Requests are then posted to different group members who deliver grocery boxes across the country.
In the past week, Ms Sohail has packed and delivered more than 300 grocery boxes to drivers, labourers and grocery boys in Dubai, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain, all 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 son, 12, on delivery trips, said the initiative wouldn’t be as successful without the help of social media and “the kind UAE souls”.
Throughout the holy month, the Sohail family and other group members will respond to as many requests as possible and hope to exceed last year’s total.
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 […] is encouraging [her] group’s […] members to donate groceries to low-income families.”
On the eve of Ramadan, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid unveiled a campaign to fund 100 million free meals in 20 countries across the region.
People can donate via a website and give as little as Dh10 to fund 10 meals, rising to Dh500.
Updated: April 12, 2021 08:46 AM