Emirates Draw winning number
Emirates Draw in progress. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Screengrab

Dubai: Melroy Fernandes, 61, from India, Firuz Najmiddunov, 38, from Uzbekistan and Helen Raj, a young 30-year-old Indian have one thing in common — they all won Dh77,777 each after participating in the Emirates Draw.

People often fantasise about what they would do if they were to win a lottery. Some dream of buying a house or a car. Some dream of luxurious vacations to far-flung destinations. The majority, however, dream of lifting their families’ prospects and securing their futures for a better tomorrow.

One such person is Indian expatriate Melroy Fernandes. A resident of Fujairah and an employee with Fujeirah National Quarries since 1987, Melroy received a cancer diagnosis earlier this year in April and was undergoing treatment at Tawam Hospital. Although he speaks highly of the quality of care he is receiving, Melroy was fearful of the future and what it would mean for his wife and son should the worst happen.

'This win feels so great'

Despite his worries, he continued participating in Emirates Draw every weekend. With only one son and deep ties to his community back home, Melroy now hopes to use his winnings to ensure his son receives the education he deserves, while continuing to support those in his hometown who have suffered the most as a result of COVID-19.

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Firuz Najmiddunov (left) and Melroy Fernandes, two of the lucky winners in Emirates Draw. Image Credit: Supplied

“It’s just been so hard going through the treatment and watching our bank account hover around zero throughout the pandemic because we were sending money to so many people in India to help. This win feels so great! It’s my first time ever winning something. I did not expect to win, but I kept trying every Saturday. I feel so happy that I can give my son an education and the future he deserves. This has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Emirates Draw,” Fernandes said.

On the other side of the spectrum is young and vibrant Helen Raj, an accountant from India. Only 30 years old and recently married, she had participated in Emirates Draw only once before, the first time choosing her numbers and the second time opting for the Quick Pick, thinking if it was meant to be it will be. On her second attempt, Helen received an email the very next day, informing her she had won Dh77,777 and to say she was shocked is an understatement. “I’ve never won anything ever before. I got online, thought I couldn’t win, but I did. This feels so incredible! I called my husband and my mother immediately to tell them and I was crying, asking them if this was a dream? I hope to use this money to support my husband to start his own graphic design business, as he lost his job because of the pandemic. I will also make a donation to charity.”

Meanwhile, Firuz Najmiddinov, a 38-year-old Uzbek living in Dubai for the past seven years, asked his young nephew to choose the winning numbers for him. Having gone without a salary for several months, Najmiddinov was on the verge of packing up and leaving to return to his home country. Filled with hope, he participated in draws elsewhere, praying he would win and watch his life transform. Armed with his nephew’s lucky numbers and fervent hope, he won on his second attempt with Emirates Draw.

‘Praying non-stop’

“When I saw the email in my inbox I really thought it was a scam. I just couldn’t believe it. I have been without a salary for many months now. I have been praying non-stop. I was down to my last few hundred dirhams. My lovely nephew suggested the numbers and I thought I had nothing to lose. How can I express how amazing this feels and how happy I am! This money changes everything for me. I’m so grateful to Emirates Draw. Thank you!”

A life-changing amount for Najmiddinov, Dh77,777 promises to alleviate his circumstances and those of his family and he hopes to invest in a new apartment in Uzbekistan.

Emirates Draw, the UAE-based socially responsible organisation, announced last Saturday that the Grand Prize for its next draw on December 25 has grown from Dh89 million to Dh95 million. Players hoping to win will have the chance at matching all seven numbers from right to left and winning the life-altering prize.

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How to participate?

Entrants can choose to participate in the weekly draw by purchasing a Dh50 pencil and coral poly at www.emiratesdraw.com. After registering online, participants can select their seven-digit number or have the system choose their number randomly.

With their purchase, participants are entered into two separate drawings — the first, a raffle draw where every week seven lucky participants are guaranteed Dh77,777 each. In addition, all participants will be entered into a second draw with six prize categories that include a Grand Prize of Dh95 million when all seven numbers are matched.

The next draw will be live streamed on www.emiratesdraw.com and across its digital platforms, YouTube and Facebook.