5,000 people get free Iftar meals from this villa daily

5,000 people get free Iftar meals from this villa daily
People start queuing to collect their free biryani during ramadan at the Private Villa along Hamdan Street in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi - Nearly 5,000 free food packs are being distributed from his villa near the Corniche every evening throughout the holy month - a practice continuing for last eleven years.



by

Anjana Sankar

Published: Mon 29 May 2017, 9:16 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 May 2017, 11:32 PM

Thousands of poor people in Abu Dhabi, who observe fast during the holy month of Ramadan, are getting a free fill of biriyani for Iftars, thanks to a kind Emirati man. 
Nearly 5,000 free food packs are being distributed from his villa near the Corniche every evening throughout the holy month - a practice continuing for last eleven years. 
And no surprise, the free Iftar has become somewhat of an institution in Abu Dhabi with hundreds of people thronging his gate daily, to end their fast. Well before 4pm, long lines of people of different nationalities can be seen patiently waiting to take home a free food packet.
"I come here every Ramadan. This villa and their biriyani is so famous that every fasting Muslim in the locality comes here," said Abdeen Mohammed, a Bangladeshi worker.
Another beneficiary, Indian expat Ibrahim Ahmed, said his first Ramadan in the UAE in 2010 started with this free biriyani. ?"It was my friend who took me here for the first time. Every Ramadan since then, I have eaten this biriyani," said Ahmed.
While the Emirati owner of the villa prefers to remain anonymous, this yearly Ramadan charity is organised and managed by his supervisor Abdul Khader, a Kandoora-clad man from Kerala, who has been working in the villa for last 40 years.
"We have been doing this every Ramadan for the last 11 years. The number of people coming to our doors (for biriyani) is only increasing year by year," said Khader.
Unlike previous years, Khader said, they are not setting up an open kitchen in the villa and cooking biriyani. Instead, food packs are being prepared by the villa owner's catering company in Mussafah, and distributed to people. 
"Due to some logistical challenges, we decided not to set up the Ramadan kitchen this year. But the distribution of free biriyani continues unhindered as the catering company has taken up the responsibility," said Khader. Each food packet contains chicken biriyani, water and dates.
In previous years, Khader and his wife used to manage a team of 25 cooks and helpers to run an open Kitchen within the villa compound. Khader said 450-500kg of meat, 450kg of rice and 100kg of vegetables are used daily, throughout the holy month to feed thousands of people.
The biriyani takeaway is a boon mostly to blue-collar workers who cannot cook for themselves. "It is past 5pm when we finish work and reach our accommodation in Mussafah Industrial area. The free biriyani packs are such a big relief that we do not have to worry about what to eat for Iftar," said Bilal Siauddin, a Bangladeshi painter.
Kenyan expat Ibrahim said he and his roommates count on the villa biriyani for Iftars as they do not have a kitchen. "It is a great help for people like us. We do not know who the generous man is. But I am sure, Allah will reward him for his generosity," said Ibrahim who works as a security staff.
anjana@khaleejtimes.com
 
 


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