Dubai: The emirate’s most prominent families and brands will unite against hunger in April in a gala dinner and auction to raise Dh1 million to feed around 500,000 people in Yemen, Syria, and India through the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
Billed to be the largest fundraiser against hunger in the Middle East, the dinner and auction will be held at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel on April 17 under the patronage of Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.
“This gala dinner is very special because it is the product of individual volunteers that brought corporates on-board and big families,” said Elise Bijon, Partnerships and Business Development Manager, MENA, Central Asia and Eastern Europe of the UN World Food Programme, speaking to Gulf News.
“We are quite amazed by the generosity of the residents, in general, that just want to do good in one way or another and we are here to provide them guidance on how they can accomplish that without necessarily going outside of the emirates,” she added.
The not-for-profit event was initiated by a committee of six influential Dubai residents led by Mukund Menda, director of Dubai-based corporation World of Electricals. Some of the UAE’s most prominent families and corporations including the Rajen Kilachand family, Zuma Restaurant, Porsche Middle East, and Apparel Group are also part of the noble cause.
“The richest and most influential [people] employ thousands and create employment. And they have access to capital,” Menda told Gulf News.
“That doesn’t mean that we don’t allow people to donate at the small level. If anyone wants, they can go on the internet, and they can basically donate $50 (Dh183.60), $100 directly without this event. But we are looking at this high-profile event because we know there are big spenders here,” he added.
Menda said that generous hearts naturally abound in Dubai and they are only tapping on these to maximize their impact.
“A lot of philanthropy happens in Dubai quietly. We’d be honoured to have a little bit more noise and so that’s why we’re doing it that way and to have the maximum value and the maximum impact. More important than money, this could actually also inspire young people who are not from the elite to donate and give back so it’s also about awareness,” Menda said.
Valuable prizes to be auctioned off are two first-class tickets to any Emirates destination, jewellery, luxury timepieces, and paintings, among others.
For every dirham raised, a schoolchild can be fed for one day based on WFP’s estimates. It takes Dh2 to give emergency food assistance to one person for one day.