UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Robin Hood returns… in Dubai

The poor of Dubai, which today fell further into economic crisis, have never experienced the luxuries the state is renowned for. But every year during the Islamic festival of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, one man, who has christened himself "The Robin Hood of the United Arab Emirates", tries to share some of the country's wealth with them. Read more...

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The poor of Dubai, which today fell further into economic crisis, have never experienced the luxuries the state is renowned for. But every year during the Islamic festival of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, one man, who has christened himself "The Robin Hood of the United Arab Emirates", tries to share some of the country's wealth with them.  

Faissal Khan, a 34-year-old businessman brought up in Canada, moved to the emirate of Ajman three years ago. In 2008, he launched "TakeMyJunkUAE.com", a recycling service for expats and locals alike who have too much software, furniture, cleaning apparatus and food to know what to do with. The website reads: "We will remove almost anything from your home or office. You simply email us, and we will schedule you right away!"

Since the start of the economic crisis, many high-flying businessmen have left the Emirates, leaving Faissal with even more stock to hand out to the poor. 

“Expats tend to be more used to giving away things they don’t need”

Faissal Khan worked for a long time in the social sector in Canada. Today, he's using his experience to help the thousands of desperately poor migrant workers in Ajman.

Primarily we help labourers who work on construction sites who earn about 1,000 dirham [183 euros] a month. Most of them send the majority of their earnings back to their families in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. With the high cost of living here, even the basic essentials are a luxury for them.  

It all started last year during the Adha festival. Along with some Pakistani and Indian businessmen, I delivered 1.5 kilo bags of lamb and chicken to workers so that they could enjoy the festival properly. Afterwards, we carried on with the work, with the simple idea of collecting what the rich no longer had need of and giving it to the poor. 

Expats tend to be more used to giving away things they don't need. Because of that, most of our donors are British, Canadian, European and Indian. The Arab culture is less understanding of the idea but nonetheless we try to develop it. For example, a group of kids from the Jumeirah English Speaking School came to help us to distribute rice to local workers.

For the Adha festival, members of the local Muslim community, particularly Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, helped us to collect 235 kilos of meat for the workers. We'll deliver them on Sunday, along with soap, toothpaste, oil and deodorant.

In 2010 we're hoping to offer courses in English and IT to the workers and immigrants. We're also planning to send hampers to poor countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia, India and the Philippines."

 

 

Imaged posted by Faissal on the takemyjunkuae website.