Ramadan 2021: Sri Lankan group helps to provide jobs and meals in community campaign

Sahana distributed iftar meals this weekend, and works to find employment for people who are out of work

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Volunteers from a Sri Lankan welfare association distributed meals to workers and families this weekend.

Food packets that were handed out on Friday during iftar to more than 300 people of all nationalities in the Sonapur area of old Dubai.

The Sahana association is running a campaign throughout Ramadan, with the approval of Dubai's Community Development Authority and with the help of Watani Al Emarat Foundation.

People just need some support to get back on their feet

In addition, volunteers will meet at supermarkets this week to gather provisions including lentils, rice, cooking oil and essentials for more than 100 Sri Lankan families in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman, whose main breadwinner has lost their job.

Isthiaq Raziq, a co-ordinator with Sahana, said the group was also helping people who were unemployed to find work.

“There are families where the men have not got paid for four to five months and they are finding it difficult to make ends meet,” he said.

“We are collecting dry rations for 117 needy families. Since they don’t have salaries, their means to buy food is limited.

"Our advice to them has been to repatriate their families as soon as possible to Sri Lanka to decrease their financial burden at this time.”

The association has helped 40 people who were laid off from the construction and tourism industry find employment in the hospitality and restaurant sectors.

The group holds regular sessions on Zoom and posts videos on YouTube with tips on how to update a CV and suggestions on how to prepare for a job interview.

“People with valid visas who have just lost their jobs want to remain in the UAE and look for a job. There are new opportunities because of a positive trend we are witnessing in the market,” Mr Raziq said.

“We are supporting them with food and a career guidance programme. There are jobs in hotels, restaurants as well as administrative work that is available. We are posting information about job offers on our website so we can help more people.”

The group had assisted more than 12,000 workers and families last year during the stay home restrictions and has supported people who need air tickets to return to Sri Lanka.

“The need was much greater last year during the height of Covid and the lockdown, when people could not travel home,” he said.

"People now just need some support to get back on their feet."