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Sharjah bans charity collection desks near cash machines

Residents wanted more privacy and security while donating cash

Image Credit: Ahmad Ramzan/Gulf News
A charity kiosk outside the Sharjah Co-operative in the Al Jazat area. Other charity boxes are also shown.
Gulf News

Sharjah: Police will start enforcing a new rule to stop charities from setting up collection points near banks, cash machines and crowded areas, a top official told Gulf News.

The Sharjah Police official, who did not wish to be named, added that police are following a fresh directive of the Sharjah Executive Council to ban collections at such points.

“We will implement the decision announced today [Tuesday] to ensure compliance,” he said.

Collection desks and jars are often placed near ATM cash machines and entrances to banks and large supermarkets, apparently as an opportunity to solicit more donations.

However, some begging and theft gangs abuse the opportunity to target donors, said a top official of the Bait Al Khair (Home of Goodness) charity. He welcomed the decision to remove collection points from such locations.

“There are some people who pretend to be charity collectors, but in reality are members of gangs who know there will be residents with money at these points,” said the charity official on condition of anonymity.

“Another reason why this decision is good is that people usually want to donate in privacy. Some of the collectors are volunteers who decide to set up the collection desks at the locations without informing the charity association.

“There were no inspections of the locations, but this will change with the new decision.”

Several residents also praised the development, saying they would like collection points to be more discrete. They added many of the collection desks are located in busy spots, interfering with the free movement of people.

Hisham Mansour, a 24-year-old Emirati government employee, said: “If I was paying bills at payment machines or taking money out from an ATM, I couldn’t get my wallet out without privacy because four charities collectors were sitting behind me and you feel their eyes on you.”

Khalild Al Ali, 42-Year-old Emirati military retiree, added that he didn’t feel comfortable to allow his wife near collection desks placed near payment machines or ATMs as “you’re scared that someone will snatch her handbag and run away, as it has happened many times in the emirate. It also embarrasses people who wish to donate secretly.”