Dubai: The year 2023 started on a high note for Filipino expat Russel Tuazon, 35, after winning a whopping Dh15 million in the Emirates Draw.
Russel won the EASY6 grand prize taking home the prize pot, equivalent to about 229 million in Philippine pesos.
“My life has just been crazy since then. Messages have been pouring in constantly for help back home in Philippines and from Filipino expats here in the UAE. The first three months was pretty much crazy. I even deactivated my Tik Tok and other social media accounts. Today, things are more quiet as people have got the message that I am not in a rush to make my plans.”
Russel said: “Definitely the win has been a life-changing moment for me. For one, I left my full time job no sooner I won the grand prize. Right now, I am planning things for myself and my parents.”
I am considering starting my own franchise for a restaurant where I previously worked as a store manager.
Speaking to Gulf News, Russel added he is not in a rush to put the money away to use immediately. “Right now, it is sitting in my account. I am considering starting my own franchise for a restaurant where I previously worked as a store manager. My former employer is a very good man and we are in talks for something fruitful to come up.”
Friday the 13th lucky
Russell said he decided to enroll in the draw on January 13 , 2023 which happened to be a Friday. “For us, Friday the 13th is not considered very auspicious. It was the first time I decided to buy the draw ticket and it just happened to Friday the 13th!”
He said the day was full of surprises. “I never imagined in the morning that I would be woken up in the night with my name screaming on the mic. How could I believe I had won such a big amount?”
But then that is the power of luck. It changes lives, allows people to dream and these expats living in UAE have experienced it first-hand.
Russel who worked as a store manager for a restaurant said he is in the process of finalising a place to start his franchise. I am taking it slow. I don’t want to rush and take any wrong decision. Right now I am spending a lot of quality time with myself as well.”
He also wants to bring his family – wife and a child – back to the UAE. “I had to send them back to Philippines as it was too expensive keeping them here. Beside, I also want to invest into real estate at some point.”
Another big winner sees huge change
Ajay Ogula, another EASY6 winner who won Dh15 million last year has put his plan into place.
The money I have won is for my family and myself. I cannot keep everything for myself.
Ajay is building a temple in his hometown in the southern part of India. The temple cost is around Dh450,000. Besides, Ajay has allocated money and a house for his brother, sister and mother. He has also bought himself a house worth around Dh890,000.
“The money I have won is for my family and myself. I cannot keep everything for myself.”
Ajay who works as a driver for a gold shop in Deira said he will continue to work and still apply for the draw.
Life changing moment
Shivaleela Hagargi, 36, won a whopping Dh777,777 last year. And it changed her life forever. Not just her but her husband and children have greatly benefited from the win as well.
The family debt was weighing on our minds heavily. The loan was taken by my husband for his business. When we received the prize money it felt just amazing.
In March Shivaleela won the mega Emirates Draw prize money and it made a huge difference to her and her family. Her husband Santosh Erappa (44) had a debt of Dh400,000 at the time. Shavaleela decided to try her luck with Emirates Draw. And lady luck did bless her, ensuring the family repaid their massive debt.
“The family debt was weighing on our minds heavily. The loan was taken by my husband for his business. When we received the prize money it felt just amazing.”
Shivaleela explained that in the last year the family have planned to put the winning money to good use. “Besides paying the debt off, we have secured funds for the education of children – Shreya and Shresht. Not just that, we have also purchase a two-bedroom apartment in Mumbai. Part of the winning money has gone into paying a down-payment for the mortgage.”
She said such prize wins are life changing and everyone should try it. “Do it from your heart. And keep trying. Stay positive and you can win one day as well.”