We, a group of women, are offering a regular community service by providing home-made food to construction workers onsite.
It all began a year ago in winter, when I was heading home in Bur Dubai — I came across some construction workers shivering in the cold. Back in India, my family would cook food and distribute it to people in the neighbourhood.
It inspired me to do something similar for the workers. On this occasion, I made about 15 litres of tea and took biscuits for them. They were startled but very grateful to receive it — since then, they call me ‘didi' (‘older sister' in Hindi).
Due to the positive response, I decided to take it to the next level. As my husband works in the construction industry, I was able to set up lunches for workers in various sites in Dubai. My friends got wind of what I was doing and began to join me. I would give them the menu — a simple one, often consisting of rice with vegetables and curry — and they would help with the cooking.
My priority, while preparing the food, is to ensure it is fresh and made in hygienic conditions. Those delegated to cook are known to me and make sure they follow the correct procedures.
However, a lot of people from the community have helped out in other ways, especially in terms of donations. The money is used to buy cutlery, fruits, beverages and yoghurt. Over the past few months, we have provided meals for about 5,000 people in batches of 250. Our aim is to do this at least twice a month.
Most recently, we prepared lunch for 500 workers in Al Barsha. Some of the organisers even brought along their children. It was an educational experience for them since a lot of the time, teenagers do not realise how difficult life may be for other people.
They were very happy to help. In the future, we hope to coordinate with schools to take students to such sites, provided safety engineers give us the green light.
Trying to make others happy gives one great happiness. Now that summer is approaching, the need for beverages and healthy food will be greater. I hope others take up similar initiatives in their neighbourhoods and bring smiles to the faces of hard-working people.
The reader is a homemaker in Dubai
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