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Ramadan sharing fridges are back in Dubai. All you need to know

Anita Iyer
Filed on May 2, 2018
Ramadan sharing fridges are back in Dubai. All you need to know

Over 27,000 members have joined the initiative on Facebook.

Back in 2016, when Australian expat Sumayyah Sayed put a fridge stocked with food and water on her front porch, she could never have imagined that two years down the line her baby step would take the shape of a giant community movement. Today, her initiative -dubbed as Ramadan Sharing Fridges - has over 27,000 members who have joined the campaign through Facebook.    

The movement serves the less fortunate community workers and labourers with free food and drink during the holy month of Ramadan. 

Its growing popularity can be gauged from the fact that 170 fridges were put out across Dubai in 2017. "This year, 30 fridges are listed already to start on the first day of Ramadan and the numbers would keep increasing every day till the start of Ramadan," Sumayyah told Khaleej Times.

What's more, with only 5,000 members on their Facebook page in 2016, the numbers have more than quadrupled now, thanks to social media which has been the driving factor to get the word around for the group. 

Sumayyah says, "The concept of sharing food has always been around in Emirati culture and in this part of the world. The initiation of putting a fridge outside to increase accessibility of basic things such as food and drinks took this culture to the next level and brought the larger community together at a time when the world was falling apart."

For the mother of two, it was also a way of instilling the value of sharing in her children. "I think the sentiment of sharing is one that most Dubai residents relate to, which is why the sharing fridges grew so fast."

What makes the initiative unique is people from different walks joining in to contribute. Several schools joined hands last year and the volunteers hope more colleges could get involved this Ramadan. 

Residents interested in lending a helping hand to the cause can either open a fridge in their community or help in filling an existing one. "We share an updated list of fridge locations, marked on Google maps daily on our social media. Residents should ensure that there is no fridge in their vicinity. If there is, we advise them to team up to support and manage that fridge. Better a few full fridges in a community that plenty empty!"

Although there has been interest from other emirates to replicate Dubai's Ramadan Sharing Fridges, the group currently doesn't have a licence to operate in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. From 2017, Ramadan Sharing Fridges is a licensed initiative under the patronage of the Emirates Red Crescent and the Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department (IACAD).

All you need to know  

1. How to adopt a fridge?  

People who want to adopt a fridge, can send a message to info@ramadansharingfridges.org. You will be emailed a set of 'golden rules' and a document explaining the process to follow to adopt a fridge. 

After setting up a fridge, volunteers should send the information to be listed on Google maps. The fridge needs to be visible and accessible for donations and for the workers to help themselves. 

2. What makes a good manager

Time spent, besides the fridge undoubtedly! Someone who spends time and energy at the fridge and ensures that it is constantly filled up and cleaned. The fridge manager should also welcome donators and workers with a smile.

3. How much refilling does it need?

10 to 15 times a day and caters to 100-200 people each day. It is filled with 400 to 500 pieces of fruits, more than 100 bottles of water, juices or laban and about 50 meals, plus dry fruits and biscuits.  

4. How to locate 

Follow their social media pages for daily updates:  
Facebook Page : RamadanSharingFridges
Facebook Group: Ramadan/Sharing Fridges in the UAE
Instagram @ramadanfridgesdxb
Twitter @ramadanfridges

5. Best items to donate 

The most popular items are: drinks (juices and soda) water, laban, fruit (bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, watermelon in portions) and vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions). Dry food such as dry fruits (dates), biscuits, nuts and crisps can also be added. 

 -anita@khaleejtimes.com.







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