x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Carolers visit dozens of Dubai homes to raise funds for typhoon victims

A band of carolers are visiting dozens of homes in Karama to raise funds for victims of Typhoon Bopha, which hit the southern Philippines this month.

A group of young residents of the Al Maskan building went around to their neighbours apartments to sing Christmas carols and raise money for Philippine typhoon victims in Dubai. Christopher Pike / The National
A group of young residents of the Al Maskan building went around to their neighbours apartments to sing Christmas carols and raise money for Philippine typhoon victims in Dubai. Christopher Pike / The National

DUBAI //A band of carolers are visiting dozens of homes in Karama to raise funds for victims of Typhoon Bopha, which hit the southern Philippines this month.

Typhoon Bopha killed 1,500 people, Philippine authorities say, making it the country's second-deadliest storm.

The charity effort was organised by a group of mums who wanted to teach their children the power of giving during the festive season.

"We wanted to merge the traditional Christmas message with collections for the typhoon victims," said Shedley Patrick, an Indian mother of two. "The collection may not be big but we want our children to understand the power of giving."

The carolers include teenagers with guitars and tambourines and children as young as three who belt out old favourites like Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and Come All Ye Faithful.

The group gathers to practice for an hour before heading out in red and white outfits with Santa caps.

Rose Vincent, 6, goes dressed as an angel."I like wearing my wings," she said. "Like an angel I can help."

Her older sister Maria, 14, said she liked hearing the mums recall how they too once sang carols in India.

"This is different from a normal Christmas get-together of meeting friends and family," she said. "Now we're helping people by gathering together. We sing from our hearts."

For many, like Ria Lemof, 16, it was their first time knocking on a stranger's door.

"It was kind of scary at first because we were worried we'd mess up," she said. "But with the collection we are raising we feel this Christmas is different and we are part of something bigger."

The experience has been so good, the families say they will repeat the charity drive next year.

"We have so many different religions in our block and everyone has welcomed us," said housewife Rosemary Joseph. "Involving the kids has helped them understand the true meaning of Christmas."

rtalwar@thenational.ae