By Yasamin Dameri
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -- Winston Churchill
For the past four Ramadans, Hessa Al Suboosi has participated in campaigns aimed at giving to the less fortunate. A junior student at American University of Sharjah, Hessa, along with 1971 Team, an Emirati social enterprise that serves the community through creative initiatives, has distributed hundreds of box meals to help commuters and poor families celebrate Iftar every day during the holy months of Ramadan.
Besides Hessa, the team included Khalifa BinHendi and Aisha Saeed Harib. According to Hessa, each team member had their own experience with community services in foreign countries and this brought them together to start a similar organization in their own country.
“We united to give back to our community,” said Hessa.
During the holy month of Ramadan the 1971 Team carried out two initiatives.
The first was Ramadan Aman, an enterprise founded by Alihsan Charity Foundation in Ajman. Hessa said the aim of this enterprise was to reduce accidents and prevent speeding close to Iftar time.
She said the box meals – which included water, dates and pastry – were distributed 10 minutes before the Maghrib prayer in three different locations simultaneously, with the locations changing every 10 days.
Over 300 boxes were given out daily at all three locations with 15 to 20 volunteers at every venue. “We have all types of volunteers, including high-level dignitaries, children, orphans and people with disabilities,” said Hessa. “We all join together and help distribute the box meals.”
Food Drive UAE
The second enterprise was Food Drive UAE. The aim for this initiative was to help low income families by sending boxes filled with various types of edible goods.
Volunteers distributing Food Drive UAE boxes to the families in need
Volunteers were welcome to fill boxes, provided by the enterprise, with certain goods stated in a checklist and then send them to the 1971 Team or the Royati Family Society offices, who they collaborated with. Each box was limited to 15 kgs and the boxes were distributed twice a week at different locations.
Hessa said that by the last day of the Holy month they had distributed boxes to approximately 7,500 families. For the coming year, their aim is to reach 10,000 families.
Yasamin Dameri is a student at American University of Sharjah.