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Greek expatriate Antonis Linas (left) and Chinese expatriate FeiFei Feng, two of the seven participants who won Dh77,777 each in the latest Emirates Draw. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Antonis Linas couldn’t believe what he was reading. The 47-year-old Greek expatriate was driving in Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, when he received an email notification that caught his attention. He pulled over on the side and read the message properly. “The notification stressed me out and when I was finally able to pull over. I was shocked to find out that I had won Dh77,777 with Emirates Draw! It’s such a wonderful feeling and I wanted to tell my wife as soon as I got home, but she was busy with our beautiful 17-month-old daughter. So I had to wait until after I gave her the morning coffee the next day,” Antonis said, laughing.

It was a bright moment for the couple, who have been spending most of their days worried about Linas’ wife’s family and supporting them as they escaped the Ukrainian conflict.

“We’ve helped them leave Ukraine to go to Poland and now her family is in Germany. It feels so good that the money we’ve spent to help them has come back to us. Everyone is safe now, so we can relax a bit and enjoy the winnings,” Linas, who works in the hospitality industry, said.

He added: “Actually, my wife now wants to participate and she did for the first time after I told her that I had won. I’ve been participating regularly and a couple of weeks ago, I found out that I had won Dh77, but Dh77,777 is an incredible amount. I hope that everyone who wins can share this good feeling I have right now, it’s the best thing that could have happened to us.”

For FeiFei Feng, all it took was an email on a quiet evening with family to turn into a night of celebration. The 32-year-old Chinese expatriate is one of seven participants from diverse nationalities who won Dh77,777 during Emirates Draw’s weekly raffle draw.

“It was such a surprise when I found out that I won. My husband checked the Emirates Draw Instagram account after receiving an email and there was my name on the winners’ result post,” FeiFei, who has been living in Dubai for ten years now, said. The mother of one continued laughing: “It turned out that he was regularly purchasing pencils through the Emirates Draw website and entering both of our names for the draw.”

FeiFei added: “My parents live with us and our two-year-old daughter. Once it felt real that I won, we celebrated that night. We’re still in happy-shock, so we haven’t really thought about what we will do with the Dh77,777 beyond giving some of the money to charity and maybe buying a new iPhone,” Feng, who manages a business with her husband, said.

FeiFei, who is the first Chinese participant to win with Emirates Draw, confirmed that she and her husband were more motivated than ever to continue participating in the hope that they may win again.

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Javid Abdolkarim Kaedi, a 53-year-old Iranian expatriate, discovered that he had won Dh77,777 through a phone call from Emirates Draw, which instantly brightened his day. “I was outside my home when someone from Emirates Draw called to congratulate me. It made my day so beautiful, and I’ve been so happy ever since then. I told my wife and children, and we are still celebrating, thank you Emirates Draw for this great opportunity,” Kaedi, who is the father of a ten-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter, said.

Kaedi, who has a car accessories business, plans to divide his winnings between securing his children’s education, helping his family and those close to him who are in need. “I regularly help others, especially those who I care about. I also travel back home to do charitable work for those who most need it. There are many people who I support, good people who are currently struggling but don’t want others to know they are suffering. So I do what I can to reduce their suffering,” Kaedi, who has been living in Dubai since 1989, said.

This isn’t the first time that Kaedi had won with Emirates Draw, he revealed that he had won Dh777 in November 2021.

To date, more than Dh18 million has been presented in prize money to more than 14,000 winners since the organisation’s inception in September 2021.