Abu Dhabi: A random act of kindness goes a long way and these women living in Abu Dhabi know how to do it well.
In keeping with the spirit of Ramadan – a month of sharing love and care - Egyptian expat Nermeen Selim, 37, decided to do something for blue collar workers in the capital and how.
Selim, an IT professional, who recently quit her job to tend to her seven-month-old child, organised an evening with 30 women workers at her building in Meena Road close to the Corniche, and gave them a full pampering session including a hand massage, manicure and pedicure.
She (Selim) gathered her son, neighbours, friends and their children who live in the building, who all volunteered and organised the events for the evening.
The attendees were 26 women workers from a nearby labour accomodation. Four women who work as domestic workers in the building were also invited to join the Iftar evening organised by Nermeen and her friends. “I spoke to their accomodation manager and took the necessary permission to get these women to our building and enjoy an evening with us. Two buses with the women and their supervisors arrived at 5 pm on Thursday,” said Selim.
“We started with a couple of games just to break the ice between the workers and us. At first, when they arrived, they were shy and hesitant to talk to us or mingle with us. So we started playing a game ‘Passing the Parcel’. We had prepared 30 gifts and this was given away during the game.”
One of the residents in the building who is a Zumba instructor decided to bring in some entertainment for the evening with some dancing.
But the highlight for the evening was a free makeover given by the volunteers to the workers. From hand massages to manicures and pedicures, the volunteers decided to give the workers the time of their lives – all in the spirit of Ramadan.
“The month of Ramadan is very special as it gets all of us to think about sharing and caring. It is equally important for our children to get involved in the celebration and so the mums living in the building decided to let the children be actively involved that day. For example, my son Hamza Khaled who is just five years old was given the charge of the painting station. Another eight-year-old girl, Sara Khaled from Morocco was leading the massage station. Basically she was in charge of giving a hand massage to all the workers. The manicure station was looked after by Egyptian expat, Yasmin Sadek, all of just eight years.”
A Filipina worker, Hara Deen, who was invited to the Iftar do said: “These women and children made my day. I have never visited a salon in my life. And these children painted my nails and gave me a hand massage. I felt loved and respected. It was a great gesture.”
Another Filipina at the Iftar evening, Angeline Pernas said: “It was a very emotional day for me. These children touched my heart. I will not forget this day ever. The whole event brought a smile to my face and the next evening I woke up feeling very good.”
Making a difference in her own little way
Selim and her friends have also initiated a community effort from the start of the month of Ramadan to deliver food packets to security guards in six towers located in Meena road, Abu Dhabi. “A week before the Ramadan started, my friends and I organised daily delivery of food packets to workers in the buildings from a restaurant nearby. The idea of our efforts is to bring a smile to people who work hard for a living but have little support system here in the UAE. They leave their homes, families and come here to earn a living just so they can support their families back home. We are more privileged than them and the least we can do is make that small difference in people’s lives,” said Selim.