Volunteers dish out 2,000 free meals in Dubai as part of community campaign

Volunteers from a Sri Lankan welfare association distributed meals to workers in the Sonapur area of old Dubai

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Dedicated volunteers from a Sri Lankan welfare association distributed 2,000 free iftar meals to workers in Dubai on Saturday.

Members of the Sahana association gave out food packets in the Sonapur area of old Dubai in celebration of International Workers' Day, which falls on May 1.

The gesture was part of an ongoing Ramadan campaign the group is leading, with the approval of Dubai's Community Development Authority and the help of Watani Al Emarat Foundation.

Food packets were also handed out last Friday during iftar to more than 300 people of all nationalities.

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

"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 told The National last week.

“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 lost jobs in 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.

The group assisted more than 12,000 workers and families last year during 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,” Mr Raziq  said.

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