Alms is one of the pillars of Islam and our social responsibility to help those less fortunate than ourselves is never more on our minds than during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Here in Dubai, July is flooded with new charity initiatives, from donation drives, to donated iftars and even competitions in aid of medical care for Syrian refugees. Of the numerous causes in the city, we’ve selected 20 that are new, or have fresh events taking place over summer.
1 Adopt a Camp
New JLT café Nofara is involved in both Adopt a Camp, which delivers Ramadan care packages to labourers and The Sameness Project’s water donation. Readers can join Nofara on Wednesday July 24 and July 25 by donating Dhs125 to Adopt a Camp, who will deliver a filled backpack to labourers in need.
Dhs125 donation per Ramadan care package. www.adoptacamp.ae
2 Ajmal’s Mission Million
Middle Eastern perfumery Ajmal has pledged that for every purchase made during the month of Ramadan, it will donate a meal to the UN World Food Programme’s school meals programme.
3 Feline Friends
The Dubai charity works to care and re-house stray cats, many of which have been mistreated. You can volunteer to help the charity’s efforts either by fostering a cat (temporarily housing and caring for cats until a permanent home is found) or by adopting a cat permanently. Adoption days are held regularly and the next event will be held on Saturday July 20 at the Vet Hospital in Al Quoz. On Friday July 12, you can also help by donating books to Feline Friend’s book sale at Arte Souk in Times Square.
4 Gozo Garden
During Ramadan, the restaurant will be encouraging guests to make a donation to the Bheit Al Khair Society. Those who bring items such as clothes or cash to donate will be given a 35 percent discount at the iftar buffet in return.
Dhs139 (iftar buffet at Gozo Garden). Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai, Garhoud (04 70 28 888).
5 Gulf for Good
The project runs trekking expeditions around the world, which volunteers can participate in, raising their own funds, which are then donated to relevant charities local to the region. The last challenge of the year will be ‘The Last Shangri La’ taking place in India from Friday November 15-23. This challenge will be held in support of Room to Read, a local project that aims to open 100 school libraries in Haridwar. Planned challenges for 2014 will include Southern Laos in February, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in June and Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in July.
6 Hummingbird Bakery
At Hummingbird Bakery in Dubai, Holy Month-inspired sticky date cupcakes will be available for sale, but crucially for a suggested donation, so that buyers can give as much as they feel is appropriate. 100 percent of the proceeds from sale (not just profit) will be donated to charity.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (800 42473).
7 Hyatt Regency
The Dubai hotel has launched charity iftar Sa’em boxes for Ramadan. Menus have been devised by Emirati eatery Laylati and can then be delivered to the Mosque or institution of your choice.
Charity iftar boxes from Dhs20. Laylati, Hyatt Regency (04 317 2222).
The International Fund for Animal Welfare runs project throughout the globe, tackling the issues from the mistreatment of seals in Canada to the abuse of domestic pets such as cats and dogs. You can support its work by making donations or by sending template petition letters to key figures through its website.
9 Jumeira Rotana Dubai
During Ramadan this year, the hotel is running a CSR initiative, which involves delivering packed iftar meals to construction workers. Jumeira Rotana Dubai has confirmed that if Time Out readers would like to get involved, they can donate baskets containing items such as fruit, dates or juices.
To make donations contact firstname.lastname@example.org (04 308 4322).
10 Live it Up Uganda
NGO Yasemin runs this project in Uganda and supports the work of 73-year-old Jaja, a Ugandan lady who has been caring for lost and abandoned children in the slum of Kuntanga. Dubai residents can get involved by volunteering with projects onsite in Uganda, as well as helping out in Dubai, by donating their time and skills (Live it Uganda welcomes the help of designers to entrepreneurs).
11 Make a Difference this Ramadan
The annual mall-based donation drive (now in its sixth year) will take place in shopping centres across the city including Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre. Shoppers are asked to place clothing, books, reading glasses and mobile phones in the collection boxes, which will be donated to the Red Crescent.
12 Mawaheb from Beautiful People
This summer, Raffles Dubai will be exhibiting paintings created by Mawaheb from Beautiful People, an art studio for adults with special needs, based in Al Fahdi heritage district. The artworks will be exhibited in the lobby and available to buy.
13 Medecin Sans Frontier
Proving Dubai is charitable all year around, after Ramadan, Biella restaurant will be hosting a pizza eating contest on Friday September 20. Diners are challenged to eat as much pizza as possible in 90 seconds and proceeds raised from the Dhs70 entry fee will be donated to Medecin Sans Frontier, which has opened three hospitals in northern Syria. Collections will go towards work at refugee camps in Lebanon.
Biella, Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 4100).
14 Mums Helping Mums
Tilda Rice’s Ramadan initiative sees the company team up with the United Nations World Food Programme, to support the Mother & Child Nutrition programmes. Throughout Ramadan, for every bag of Tilda Pure Basmati Mums Helping Mums 5kg rice bag sold, Tilda will donate two meals to new and expecting mothers in developing countries around the world.
15 Plant a Tree
Rotana hotels throughout Dubai are involved in a sustainability project called ‘Plant a Tree’, which aims to offset the company’s carbon footprint. Guests can buy a ‘Plant a Tree’ mug for Dhs25 (available until the end of July) at any of the Rotana hotels in Dubai. Proceeds will be used to plant siddra trees in EEG (Emirates Environmental Group) maintained public parks.
16 Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort
Throughout Ramadan, the hotel will be hosting iftar and suhoor in its Ramadan tent. Guests will be asked to make a Dhs5 donation, which, for the third year in a row,will be donated to the Dar Al Ber Society.
Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort, Al Sufouh (04 399 5533).
17 The Rainforest Café
This family friendly spot will be encouraging Dubai children to give back to children less fortunate than themselves during Ramadan. The café will be running a toy and clothes drop off and those who donate will receive a certificate of achievement.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 330 8515).
18 UAE Dolphin Project
The non-profit initiative carries out research and awareness campaigns related to the UAE’s local dolphin population. The group is currently looking for un-paid volunteers to join a boat-based research team from July and the year ahead to aid new studies, estimating the species, population size and habitat of the UAE’s dolphin population.
19 Unicef MENA in Syria
This region’s branch of the international children’s charity is currently consolidating its efforts on helping the children of Syria by providing support in areas such as health, nutrition and education. The charity is currently working to minimise the impact of the difficulties faced by refugee children due to the summer heat, with measures such as providing adequate water facilities for drinking and sanitation.
20 Water for Workers
On Saturday August 10, The Sameness Project volunteers will be in Safa Park from 10am, handing out water to labourers, along with notes with ‘thank you’ written in six languages (English, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali & Tagalog). The Water for Workers initiative has been ongoing this summer, and the project welcomes volunteers to help them with this work.
Three Dubai-based charity volunteers share their experiences
Feline Friends volunteer Anna Christoforou:
I foster cats who need temporary homes before adoption, plus some love and affection. I fell in love with all the cats I’ve fostered (nine in total) and it’s incredible to see them get their confidence back. Feline Friends helps every step of the way, the financial burden is non-existent and the personal gains are so high.
Gulf For Good volunteer Saaed Al-Naji:
I participated in the Ibrahim trail challenge in Palestine. We hiked 15-17km a day walking through the country side from town to town. I wanted to reconnect with my Palestinian roots. It was incredibly intense on many levels. I learned a great deal about the culture from the people. You get to interact and live with the locals and explore the country from a perspective that is rarely seen.
Live it Up Uganda volunteer Samira Abdelmalek: ‘
‘I was emotionally driven by Jaja’s story and Yasemin’s project. I went to Uganda last month and spent three days at their home. We arrived with presents, but the children had even more to share with us as they were so playful. The foundation gives the kids the opportunity to believe in their future and fulfil their dreams.