x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Ramadan care packages bring smiles to UAE labourers' faces

550 labourers at a construction site on Saadiyat Island to receive a free iftar meal along with a bag containing hand wash, shampoo and a bar of soap.

ABU DHABI // A few minutes before iftar, Subuj Miah held a bag filled with chicken biryani, yoghurt, juice, fresh laban, an apple, a pear, an orange and a banana.
The 30-year-old cleaner from Bangladesh was among the 550 labourers at a construction site on Saadiyat Island to receive a free iftar meal along with a bag containing hand wash, shampoo and a bar of soap.
"It's a good initiative for our workers," said Qaiser Abbas, the sustainability engineer of Al Futtaim Carillion. "It tells them that there are people who still care about them."
The previous day, 350 workers at a labour camp on Reem Island received free iftar meals and toiletries.
From July 12 to August 2, volunteers gave away iftar meal boxes and toiletries to the workers at labour camps in Sonapur and Al Quoz in Dubai and in Sharjah.
"Smile on the Face", a non-profit event, works towards bringing smiles on the faces of thousands of labourers in the Emirates. It served 10,000 labourers in Dubai with iftar meal boxes at its launch in Ramadan last year, according to Uttam Kumar, the managing director at Tamquest Events.
Tamquest Events has partnered this year with Dubai Investment Bank, with the Bank of Sharjah as an associate sponsor.
Residents were asked to get into the spirit of giving this Ramadan by buying vouchers through Marhaba Deals.com and TixBox.com. Donations also poured in from various companies in the country.
"We have served 7,550 workers so far," Mr Kumar said. "We would like to focus now on educating the labourers through workshops on health and safety and hygiene, as well as computer and basic English language classes."
Those who wish to sponsor a camp can email info@tamquest.com. For more information on the campaign, visit www.facebook.com/smileontheface.
rruiz@thenational.ae