Helping the UAE’s labourers has never been easier thanks to the Radisson Blu Box Appeal. Now in its fifth year, the concept is simple. Grab a box from participating hotels and head to the nearest supermarket. Using the shopping list below, stock up on small everyday items – costing about Dhs100 in total – that will significantly improve the daily life of a labourer working in Dubai.
Maybe it’s this simplicity and grass-roots feel that has made the annual appeal such a resounding success. Since inception in 2008, the event has grown in terms of collection areas, volume and value of donations given. Now the appeal covers not just the UAE, but Cairo and Bahrain too.
But this year has seen possibly the most significant change of all: a move away from summer collections. The appeal now takes place in September and October, in response to feedback from participants who thought more people would be keen to get involved if the event took place later in the year.
This year, the Dubai operations take place in Radisson Blu hotels in Dubai Media City, Dubai Marina, Deira Creek, Downtown and the Radisson Royal Sheikh Zayed Road. All of the hotels are currently distributing boxes, and also function as collection points for returning the boxes once full. The packages will then be distributed in labour camps around the Dubai area, with the help of the Red Crescent.
Time Out joined South African kids Eva (aged two and a half) and Millie (five) as they prepared to shop for their box contents. Dad Ian, 32, says the campaign has been a great way to begin engaging kids in simple discussions about poverty and the act of giving. Millie tells us that the boxes are for men who work hard and send money back to their families, so sometimes there isn’t enough money to buy the things they need. They’re adamant that their box should contain a pink toothbrush and Winnie the Pooh toothpaste like theirs. Both kids seem to understand the concept and are enjoying taking part.
Last year the appeal collected 7,000 boxes in Dubai and 10,251 in the UAE in total, equating to about Dhs1 million. Since 2008 the entire appeal across the Middle East, has collected more than 30,000 boxes, the equivalent of Dhs3 million. Let’s all help make this year even bigger. This year’s Box Appeal will run until Wednesday October 31. For more information, see facebook.com/theboxappeal.
Shopping list The essential items for your box
1 T-shirt 2 Cap 3 Disposable razor 4 Shaving cream 5 Deodorant 6 Toothbrush 7 Toothpaste 8 Small hand towel 9 Comb 10 Antibacterial soap 11 Shampoo
If the Box Appeal has inspired you to do your bit for charity in the UAE, Dubai has plenty of one-off and year-round options. Try these…
AdoptaCamp is a charity group that runs various programmes and initiatives for labourers. Activities include the distribution of care packages, hygiene workshops, English classes, counselling sessions and many more. Activities run year round and volunteers are always needed. www.adoptacamp.ae.
Emirates Wildlife Society offers great volunteering opportunities for those who are passionate about conservation. Help promote the sustainable fisheries’ ‘Choose Wisely’ programme by becoming one of the community representatives. In return, you’ll be given training, promotional goodies and a T-shirt. www.facebook.com/ews.wwf