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Ramadan fridges: Warm hearts make a cool idea work

This year, a team of 13 Dubai expats have taken over the Ramadan fridge initiative, marking over 100 locations across the emirate

  • The Wade family stock up their Iftar fridge at their home during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News
  • Workers taking food out of the Ramadan Fridges fridge at the Palm Jumeirah (2017)Image Credit: Pankaj sharma/Gulf News
  • Alison Wade’s two boys aged 9 and 12 like to help out with restocking the fridge.Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: The ‘Ramadan Sharing Fridge’ initiative is back this year with over 100 fridges registered across Dubai communities. Run by a team of 13 expatriates this year, the initiative is operating under the Emirates Red Crescent umbrella.

The idea started last year with a single resident setting up a fridge and distributing food and drink donations to those in need in her community. Soon after, the idea was picked up by thousands of residents across four emirates and practised throughout Ramadan. This year, the initiative, which includes donations from residents and corporations, is licensed to take place in Dubai. The Facebook group ‘Ramadan sharing fridges in the UAE’ has over 25,000 followers. Five schools in Dubai have also joined the 2017 Ramadan Fridges initiative, by installing fridges, with many more participating in supporting initiatives. The schools which have set up a fridge are: Horizon School, Dubai British School, North Anglia International School, Victory Heights Nursery and Mirdif Private School.

Other schools have also set up events where students and their families gather to pack food parcels that are then donated to community Ramadan fridges.

Gulf News spoke to the initiative’s organisers, several fridge managers, and workers benefiting from the Ramadan fridges, about what makes this event so special.


Alison Wade, UK, Dubai resident of 5 years, Jumeirah Village Triangle (JVT)

“This is the second year I am hosting a fridge, and I have learnt a lot about what to do and what not to do.

“We have three fridges in Jumeirah Village Triangle (JVT). I have a huge outdoor shop fridge that I refill 15 to 20 times a day minimum, which costs Dh700 each time.

“I’ve learnt that not all the workers like every food item in the semi-iftar packs we gave out last year, so some items were wasted. This year, all the items are stacked in the fridge for them to choose from, and a sign has been put up saying ‘Please share with your brothers and sisters.”

“Laban is an extremely popular drink, as are fruits, cucumbers, biscuits, and dates.

“The busiest time of the day is between 6pm and 7pm when workers are done with their shift at the construction site and the buses arrive to pick them up.

“My husband and two boys, 9 and 12, help out with restocking the fridge and my sons like to greet the workers and donors who come over to our garage. It is important to give back to the community.

 For a lot of workers, it’s not about [the fact that] you are giving them, it’s more about the thought. If I were to be in their situation, I would hope that someone would think of me.”


Zahra Ahmed, UK, Dubai resident of six years, Palm Jumeirah

“This is the second year I am hosting a fridge at the Palm Jumeirah, Golden Mile 7 building, and personally, I fill the fridge up a couple of times a day. I do my own inventory and go shopping once a week to stock up.

 We received a fantastic response last year with between 10-15 donations a day. This year, we have had around six donations on the first day and we expect that number to grow. There are a lot of construction workers, cleaners and gardeners, in the area, so a lot of the food is gone in under 10 minutes of being stocked.

“We have workers coming to the fridge all day, and the most popular food at the fridge incudes laban drinks, water, juices, apples, bananas, dates, crisps and biscuits. My friend and I get our children and husbands involved in stocking the fridge and distributing food. It’s a humbling experience.

“Fasting myself and walking to the fridge to stock it up, which is a five-minute walk in the heat, can be strenuous. I can’t begin to imagine how construction workers are doing 12-hour shifts and fasting. “Taking part in this initiative is a way to give something very small back to the community and to help make the month of Ramadan a little bit easier for workers. This is a good way to give back.”


Ayesha Baig, UK, two and a half years in Dubai, Al Furjan community

“We have recently moved into Al Furjan Community, Jebel Ali 1, and it’s the first time we are taking part in the Ramadan Fridge initiative. We keep the fridge in the space outside our house as our community is very close to all sorts of construction work.

“On average, there are around 60 workers in the community. We fill the fridge around 7-8 times a day and we are still going empty at times. The community is very helpful and we are all linked via Al Furjan Community Facebook group.

 Often during the day, I post pictures of the community fridge and food that is needed and people are quick to respond. We have about 10-15 donations a day — some small, some big, but everything counts.

Drinks and food items such as fruits, fizzy drinks, water, laban and juices are always the first to go. People have also volunteered on Facebook and messaged me, so we have now set up a WhatsApp group to keep the fridge going.

My children love helping out with stocking the fridge before and after school. Other children from the community also pass by with their parents and stock up the fridge.

To me, this initiative is all about community and reaching out to those who help us in so many ways we don’t realise.”

Do’s and Don’ts during this Ramadan Fridge campaign:

The team of 13 expats organising the event share their advice with residents on contributing to the Ramadan Fridge initiative in Dubai:

1. Donate juices/laban, energy bars, fruits, veggies, snacks, dry fruits and avoid pre-prepared foods as they will not be excepted.

2. Share a smile and a few words of appreciation with our community workers

3. Ring the bell when you donate- our fridge managers will be happy to meet you and thank you.

4. Involve your children, it is one of the main reasons this initiative was founded.

5. Ask permission before taking photos of community workers and fridges.

6. Get in touch with us via our FB group if you need any assistance, we have a team of strong and hardworking women who are super helpful.

7. Find joy in giving, the spiritual satisfaction is worth more than monetary return.


Alison Wade’s two boys, aged 9 and 12, like to help out with restocking the fridge, apart from greeting the workers and donors who come over to the Wade family’s garage.

Want to join the Ramadan Fridge Sharing initiative and host a fridge? Here’s what you can do:

Seek approval from building management.

Contact Ramadan Sharing Fridge group on Facebook.

Information on what is required will be sent to the resident by the group.

Once approved, the location will be added to the fridge location map.


Locations of Ramadan fridges in Dubai

Locations: This year, the fridges have been divided into 10 zones across Dubai:‏

1. Jebel Ali & DIP‏

Al Furjan community, zone P, villa 428‏‏
DIP, Villa 139, Azalea lane, Green community west‏‏
DIP, Villa 144, Tulip way, Green community east‏‏
DIP, Villa 220, Bell Flower lane, Green community west‏‏
DIP, Villa 2504, Hawthron lane, Green community west‏


2. Marina, Palm & Sufouh‏

Dubai Marina, Rimal 3 Building‏‏
Dream Tower 1, Outside Al Maya Supermarket‏‏
JBR, Amwaj 3 Building, Plazza Level‏‏
Palm Jumeirah, Golden Mile Building 7‏‏
Palm Jumeirah, canal cove villa 70‏


3. Emirates Living‏

Springs 14, Street 8, Villa 9‏‏
JVC, Lotus Park Townhouses, Villa 9‏‏
JVC, Indigo Ville 7‏‏
JVC, District 11, Sunset Garden Villa 7‏‏
Meadows 2 St 13 Villa 6 ‏‏
Jumeirah park, District 7, Villa L72‏‏
Springs 14, Street 6, Villa 24‏‏
Springs 5, Street 1, Villa 11‏‏
JVT, Milestone Supermarket (Inside)‏‏
JVT, 9E, Villa 26‏‏
Springs 1, Street 6, Villa 20‏‏
Meadows 2, Street 6, Villa 6‏‏
JVC, 5 mulberry mansions, District 13, Street 2‏‏
Jumeirah Park District 3, Villa J32‏‏
The Lakes, Hattan 3, street 2, villa 17a‏‏
The lakes, Maeen 2 street, Villa 92‏‏
Greens Mosque‏‏
Dubai British School‏‏
Springs 10, Villa 30, Street 7‏‏
Jumeirah Park, District 5, Villa H52‏‏
Jumeirah Park, District 8, Sector P, Villa 29‏‏
Springs 11,street 11,villa 34‏‏
The Lakes, Maeen 1, Villa 173‏‏
Fortunato Building, District 11, Street 16, Main Entrance‏


4. Sports City, Ranches & Surrounds‏

Mudon, House No 12, Rahat E3‏‏
Arabian Ranches, Hattan, Street 1, Villa 2‏‏
Mudon, Rahat Gate 3, Cluster C1, Villa 1‏‏
Akoya , Silver springs, Villa 46‏‏
Mira 4, Villa 223‏‏
Al Waha, Villa B08‏‏
Terrace 4 block D, Motorcity Green Community‏‏
MIRA 2, Street 6, Villa 237‏‏
Mudon, Rahat Gate 3, Cluster C1, Villa 2‏‏
Reemram Community‏‏
Arabian Ranches Saheel gate 2, Street 10, Villa 12 ‏‏
Motor City Green Community, Security room at the entrance‏‏
Mudon, Rahat1, E1, Villa 11


5. Umm Suqeim & Jumeirah

Umm Suqueim, Al Marji Street, Villa 46‏‏
Jumeira1, 28C street, Villa 69 ‏‏
Al Safa 2, Street 18d, Villa 94a‏‏
The Healing Zone Training Centre‏‏
Horizon International School‏‏
Umm Suqeim1. Al Shilameen street, villa 5/7‏‏
Dewan Architects & Engineers‏‏
Jumeirah 3, Al Athar street, villa 64‏‏
Jumeirah 1, 63A, 12C Street‏


6. Al Barsha, Al Quoz & Downtown

Al Barsha South 2‏‏
Business Bay, Windsor Building‏‏
All Events Services‏‏
Nord Anglia International School Dubai‏‏
Thuraya Telecommunications Building‏‏
Octane Car Service‏‏
Al Barsha 2, Street 47B, Villa 38‏‏
Al Quoz, Al Zumorrod Street 44‏‏
DAMAC Maison The Vogue‏‏
Safa Community School‏‏
Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay Dubai ‏‏
Al Barsha Mosque - at the round about of Novotel Barsha 1‏‏
Alqouz industrial area -2, System camp -1, Building # 10B‏


7. Meydan, Silicon Oasis & Surrounds

Silicon Oasis, Cedre Villas, Cluster N, Villa 04‏‏
Silicon Oasis, Cedre Villas, Cluster E, Villa 69‏‏
Silicon Oasis, Cedre Villas, Cluster L, Villa 75 ‏‏
Skycourts Towers A‏‏
Skycourts Towers B‏‏
Skycourts Towers C‏‏
Skycourts Towers D‏‏
Skycourts Towers E‏‏
Skycourts Towers F‏‏
Al Barari‏‏
International City, Warsan Village block A, villa no 336‏‏
The Villa, Centro Courtyard 5, villa 18‏


8. “Old Dubai”

New Gold Souk Building‏‏
Mankhool, Al Falasi Residence‏‏
Construction Site, Near Hyatt Recency


9. Garhoud to Mirdiff‏

Mirdif, Villa 10, Street 83‏‏
Mirdif, Street 62 b, Villa 63 a ‏‏
Mirdif Private School‏‏
Garhoud, Street 41, Villa 6a‏


10. Al Qusais & Al Mizhar‏

Oud Al Muteena, Area 2.1, Street 125, villa 24‏‏
Sonapur Medical Fitness Centre‏‏
Al Boom Building, Al Nahda 2, Madina supermarket‏