Labours enjoying during the Salam Dubai organized by St Marys Catholic Church, Dubai. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: More than 500 workers from different low-income categories, including cleaners, construction labourers and municipality workers came together to enjoy a day off at the Dubai International Bowling Centre on Saturday.

Organised by the Good Samaritan Ministry of St Mary’s Catholic Church Dubai, the event titled Salam Dubai saw the workers of 36 companies enjoying a fun-filled day packed with bowling activities, accompanied by food, entertainment, a raffle draw and skill-based games.

More than 150 volunteers from Samaritan Ministry Dubai, the social outreach wing of St Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai, ensured that the participants, who were all workers earning less than Dh2,000 per month, had a good time.

Speaking to Gulf News, Lennie Connully, Parish Priest of St Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai said that the event is in support of the Year of Giving campaign declared by the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“To be part of the year of giving campaign, St Mary’s Catholic Church Dubai wanted to support the less fortunate souls in the society. So we decided to help those who draw the lowest salaries in the city to enjoy. Normally these people don’t get to enjoy the great facilities, the glamour and charm of Dubai,” said Fr Connully.

He added that the main idea of the event is to include those who feel excluded from society “and through that we are paying a tribute to Dubai. Dubai is fascinating city, nobody who comes to Dubai wants to go back, mainly because of the safety and security here. That’s why we named the event Salam Dubai, because of the prevalent peace here.”

Several other dignitaries, including Omar Al Muthanna, CEO of the Regulatory and Licensing Sector of the Community Development Authority (CDA), also mingled with the labourers.

“Unity and tolerance is in the nature of the UAE society. Irrespective of the their nationality, faith or cultural background, the people of UAE like coming together, helping each other and showing solidarity with everyone. The Year of Giving is one such initiative and this event today is another example of how we can give back to the society and show solidarity with people of every segment of the society,” said Al Mutthana.

He added that the CDA has been creating programmes such as Honour Labour, which was launched in 2012 to work with labourers and help them enjoy the good things in life through the support of good Samaritans.

“Our programmes are designed to have [a] long-term positive impact on [the] lower-income segment. Our idea is to move away from short-term charity projects and create long-term sustainable projects that improve the life of people. This is to show that Dubai is a giving emirate and there are no marginalised sections in our society. Here we all come together to support each other,” he said.

This is the third Salam Dubai event organised by St Mary’s Catholic Church and the organisers aim organisers aim to host more such programmes to offer labourers a slice of Dubai’s good life.

Jawaher Alam, a cleaner working for Dubai Municipality said: “This is the first time I am visiting a bowling centre and I have had a good time so far.”

The Bangladeshi worker has been working in Dubai for 11 years and he couldn’t believe he was finally having some leisure time away from work.

Another worker, Fawzi from Egypt, was also unable to hide his joy as he tried his hand at bowling and other arcade games.