x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Emirati designer donates 500 abayas to the poor as Eid gifts

An Emirati designer has donated abayas worth Dh2,000 each to the Red Crescent Authority to be distributed as Eid gifts.

ABU DHABI // An Emirati fashion designer is giving 500 luxury abayas to the Emirates Red Crescent to serve as Eid gifts for the poor.

Rafia Helal Bin Drai is the founder of the multimillion-dirham company Mauzan, an abaya store that has become so popular over the years they now have a branch at Dubai Mall.

She announced the giveaway of abayas priced at Dh1,000 each yesterday.

"In 23 years as a businesswomen, the country has helped me immensely and eased all procedures for me - in laws and everything," she said, adding this was her way to give back to the community.

"How many families need new clothes for Eid, especially abayas?" she asked.

She said she hoped others would learn about her donation and make similar gestures.

Asked why the abayas were so expensive, Ms Bin Drai said she sold garments that cost less but "didn't want to give the cheapest to people, I wanted to give them what I would wear".

Although abayas worth about Dh200 could be found at markets, she said, the high quality "is what will make these Eid gifts special".

Rashid Al Mansouri, deputy secretary general of local issues at the Red Crescent, praised Ms Bin Drai and said it was the first drive from an Emirati women.

"We praise this initiative, especially as we enter Ramadan," he said. "The heart flutters in giving and raising the morale of families.

"We hope from God that others see this and do this as well."

He said most of the abayas would be distributed to widows and divorcees, as well as families who preferred not to ask for help.

Ninety per cent of the latter, he said, were Emiratis. But expatriates will also benefit from the Eid gifts.

Ms Bin Drai founded her company in 1990 after finding a need for designer abayas in the market.

"Especially after women entered the workplace, a lot of abayas were suddenly in demand," she said.