Children with worker keep the water, snacks and food for the Iftar into the fridge kept outside the villa of Emirati at Khalifa City A, in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Photo: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News (story: Layna) Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: Inspired by the community-based initiative ‘Ramadan Sharing Fridges’ in Dubai, an Emirati woman in Abu Dhabi has set up a refrigerator in her own backyard

Ahlam, a 45-year-old Emirati researcher, now stocks the refrigerator on the porch of her Khalifa City residence with food and beverages every day to help the less fortunate in her area, mainly workers in the neighbourhood.

Every day at about 6:30pm, half an hour before the Maghreb call to prayer, Ahlam, with the help of her children, fills the fridge with water, laban, juices, dates, fruits, and a meal consisting of rice, meat and salad.

The mother-of-two however did not want to share her full name shared because she feels acts of charity should be kept private. She said she had been entertaining the idea of placing the refrigerator outside her residence ever since her sister had told her about the Ramadan fridge stories in Dubai.

“There are people who can’t afford to eat a full meal and there are so many others who are away from their homes and don’t get the opportunity to have a traditional home-made meal. I want to do my part to help,” she told Gulf News.

“I had been thinking of setting up the fridge for some time now, and since Ramadan is the month of giving and our country has declared 2017 as the Year of Giving, I decided to finally implement it,” she added.

The researcher said she was pleasantly surprised to find just how popular the fridge was with people. Just as soon as the fridge was filled on the first day, a queue formed and its contents emptied, all in less than half an hour.

Ahlam spent about Dh1,500 on the fridge and spends around Dh200 per day on stocking it with food and beverages.

“The fridge has been so popular with people that I am thinking of increasing the initial budget that I had allocated to this project so that we can help more people,” Ahlam said.

In an effort to provide food and beverages for a larger number of people, Ahlam has turned to her family members for support. Her siblings have all come on board and have started to contribute to her initiative in any way that they can.

She has also encouraged her children to take part in the cause by having them help in package the food, stock the fridge, and even donating part of their weekly allowance to help buy the food and beverages, in an effort to teach them about the importance of giving.

The Emirati do-gooder has been so moved by the experience that she is planning to keep stocking the fridge even after Ramadan so that people can continue benefitting from it. And she expects to spend more or less the same amount of money every day on providing the food and drink in it.

Liyana Al Abdul Salam is an intern at Gulf News