Six of the city's malls offer shoppers the chance to reach out during the Holy Month
As six of the city’s malls get into stuck into the ‘Make A Difference This Ramadan’ campaign, Kelly Crane finds out how residents can get involved too.
You may not fast for 30 days or head to the mosque five times a day to pray but there’s no excuse for not doing your bit for charity this month, no matter what your religion.
Among other things, the Holy Month of Ramadan is about embracing the values of giving. Throughout the period, there are dozens of ways to get stuck in and mall operator Majid Al Futtaim’s annual ‘Make a Difference This Ramadan’ campaign offers just one.
Now in its seventh year, the 2013 instalment promises to be bigger, better and more fruitful than ever before. The idea is simple: ask the city’s residents to have a good rummage around their villa, apartment or office to hunt for spare or old clothes, books, mobile telephones and reading glasses.
Six MAF malls including the City Centres in Mirdif, Deira, Fujairah, Sharjah and Ajman as well as Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates are equipped with donation boxes, making giving even easier.
And there’s nothing like a celebrity face to raise awareness that little bit more. Enter Shamma Hamdan, the first Emirati finalist of television talent contest, Arab’s Got Talent.
The young celeb will visit malls and spread the word about the campaign and who knows, we may even get a photo or two with the star.
‘I want to make a difference in the UAE, the place I live and call home,’ says the singer. ‘The Holy Month of Ramadan is about embracing the value of giving and I want to dedicate my time to a cause which will make a worthwhile difference to my home country.’
Last year the campaign helped more than 4,000 families in the UAE from more than 24,000 bags, which were collected and distributed by the UAE Red Crescent.
People who could never afford to have hardback books not only found themselves with entertainment but also the glasses needed to enjoy them. ‘A simple book can make all the difference to someone who is struggling in life,’ says Fuad Sharaf, senior director for MAF Properties.
Sharaf stressed people were being asked to bring only the specified goods as these items are in high demand.
‘It’s always very obvious to donate money,’ he says. ‘But it’s often the everyday items which can help more than people realise. The simple items are things most people have just strewn around the house, unused and going to waste. It doesn’t take much to have a sort out, donate and change someone’s life.’
Donation boxes will also be located at malls in neighbouring Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon and Oman in a bid to expand the project further.
‘Doing something for charity is a pillar of the Muslim religion but Make a Difference This Ramadan is more than that,’ says Sharaf. ‘These small donations can change lives, which you cannot put a price on.’
Three more homes for unwanted items
House of Prose The books may not go to charity, but the House of Prose second-hand book system will help save the environment, one book at a time. Read the last page of your book, take it in and let someone else enjoy the story after you. Or just pop in for a browse. Jumeirah Plaza www.dubaigardencentre.ae (04 344 9021).
Takemyjunkuae.com The all-encompassing website is just what you have been dreaming of if it’s space you need. The clever folk come and collect from your house. Books, toys and clothes are picked up, sorted and distributed to people in need. Larger items are cleaned up and sold on. Various locations (050 179 4045).
The United Christian Church of Dubai The church accepts clothes and books, which are then taken to inmates at Dubai prisons. Various locations www.uccdubai.com (04 884 6623).