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Golden moments recalled: How DSF has changed lives

Sandra and her daughter each won half a kilo of gold during DSF in 2012

  • Previous DSF winners, nine-year-old Hanna and mum SandraSkairjeh, at Arabian Ranches.Image Credit: ARSHAD ALI/Gulf News
  • Indian Dancer performing during the Dubai Shopping Festival 2013 at Mall of the EmiratesImage Credit: ATIQ-UR-REHMAN/Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: For 18 years running, the Dubai Shopping Festival has rewarded scores of shoppers with astonishing cash prizes, solid gold awards, and luxury cars — collectively worth more than an incredible Dh1.5 billion.

The windfall has transformed many lives — of those both here and abroad — for the better. “Gulf News caught up with some of those who were touched by the DSF phenomenon.”

If there’s one thing Sandra Skairjeh had learned from her DSF experience last year, it is to never ignore small stuff like filling out a raffle coupon. Luck struck twice for Sandra and her daughter, Hanna, when they each won 500g in gold during the Gold Mega Raffle last year thanks to Sandra’s mother.

“At that time, it was my mum who filled out the coupons for us. I used to never believe in things like luck. So I never filled out raffle coupons, I never bothered,” Sandra, a marketing manager for an IT firm, told Gulf News.

“It turned out her granddaughter won, and her daughter won because of what she had done,” Sandra added.

It was on January 23 last year when life took a different turn for Sandra. Her daughter, Hanna, 9, was the winner of half a kilo of gold the night before from the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group.

“So we were at the ceremony to claim her prize. After we came off the stage, the official said the next winning raffle coupon had the same mobile number listed in the previous night’s winning coupon but the name written was ‘Sandra,” she said.

Since that lucky day, Sandra said she has always made sure that she fills out raffle coupons. And before she knew it, luck struck again, but in a different contest this time.

“Very close after that, I bought a phone, and surprisingly, I won an iPad. So if you believe that good things will come your way and you’re positive about them, then they definitely will,” she said.

When asked how their life has changed since then, Sandra said: “It’s not the value of what you had won that changes your life. It’s the fact that you won, that’s what changes you. It gives you optimism and a positive outlook in life.”

Sandra said she kept their gold winnings as an investment but she shared a part of it to charity by helping save, feed, and rehome abandoned and injured dogs and cats in India.

“What we did was, we shared some of our winnings to save animals, dogs and cats, in India. My mum does this charity work for animals on her own in Pune,” Sandra said.

“We try to use part of it for charity because I think when you receive a gift, it’s important to share it. I think that’s the intention why it was given to you.”