Students of the Dubai British school stocking up ramadan fridges at Dubai British school. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Fourteen Dubai Schools have joined the annual Ramadan Sharing Fridge initiative this year, by encouraging students of all ages to donate food and pack iftar parcels for underprivileged people in the community.

Parents and staff shared their suggestions about joining the Ramadan Fridge initiative, which was quickly adopted by several schools in the emirate.

Some schools are hosting a Ramadan fridge in the school’s premises, while others have extended their activities to weekend gatherings where parents, students and staff collectively pack iftar parcels for workers.

Maryam Khan, a staff member from the Dubai British School (DBS), told Gulf News that after having a rewarding and unique experience during last year’s initiative, she was quick to suggest hosting a school fridge to her principal. The school involved all year groups from FS1 to Sixth Form, as well as parents, staff, families and the neighbouring communities.

“Younger students have enjoyed being involved in bringing donations to their fridge with class teachers, whilst some of our older students have spent time making up Iftar packs to distribute too,” said Khan.

She pointed out the importance of students understanding how their simple contributions are helping those less fortunate in the school’s neighbourhood. “Many students have been lucky enough to personally give their donations to well-deserving individuals as they visited the fridge whilst students were re-stocking,” added Khan.

Another participating school, Dubai British School Jumeirah Park (DBSJP) took another step to further help the needy. American-Syrian Natalie Al Hadad-Shihabi, a parent at the school led the Ramadan fridge campaign at DBSJP after suggesting that parents and students get together to make iftar parcels.

“Each parent was told to bring a list of food items last Saturday, where everyone got together to make parcels. Over 200 people showed up and 2000 meals were packed,” said Al Hadad-Shihabi.

She explained that giving back to the community instils the values of helping others in children, and teaches them to appreciate their privileged lives.

Meanwhile, Janine Bensouda, one of the Ramadan fridges main organisers, said she is focusing on “value-added initiatives this year like including schools and working on a community fridge app.”

She pointed out the initiative is about more than just stocking up fridges with food and drinks for the less fortunate in our community. “It is about expressing values of compassion, respect, generosity and inclusion. It creates a way for us to show appreciation and give value to the people who work hard to build and maintain our communities,” she said.

Bensouda explained that by getting children involved, they are being encouraged to actively learn the values of giving and to experience the satisfaction that comes when you serve and bond with your community.

“One of the three main messages students are taking back after contributing to the initiative is that we are privileged to live in a country of plenty, where poverty is rarely seen. For that reason, we must be sensitive to and aware of those less fortunate around us. They deserve our respect and our kindness,” said Bensouda.

She also pointed out the experience makes children realise their responsibility to serve others, and to share and be generous, and gives them a chance to feel the joy that serving others brings to everyone.

List of schools who have joined the Ramadan Sharing Fridge initiative

1. Nibras International School

2. Dubai British School

3. Horizon International School

4. Kings School Dubai

5. English College Dubai

6. Nord Anglia International School

7. Safa Community School

8. English Language School

9. Dubai English Speaking School

10. Swiss International Scientific School Dubai

11. Star International School

12. Mirdif Private School

13. St. Mary’s Catholic High School

14. Creative Nest Nursery