Dubai: 11-year-old entrepreneur donates entire proceeds to children affected by war in Gaza

His business involves drawing characters on white footwear and turning them into wearable pieces of art


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 13 Nov 2023, 10:39 AM

An 11-year-old boy from Dubai is using his love for drawing to help children in war-torn Gaza. Naksh Awtaney, an artist and entrepreneur, possesses a unique set of skills in customising shoes, and the proceeds from his business are being contributed to charitable causes.

“I was inspired by my family's culture of giving back, and my latest project aims to raise funds for children affected by the Gaza crisis,” said Naksh, who utilises his artistic skills to create not only shoes but also mugs, coasters, and now, tote bags.

The young entrepreneur, who studies at Dubai College said that every small effort contributes to making a greater impact. “If it helps the children with a one-time meal, it would be like I have done something for my age group affected by the war,” said Naksh.

“This Diwali, don’t just light candles in your houses but also in those who are living in real darkness,” Naksh added.

Naksh discovered his love for drawing when he was only two years old. Three years ago, at the age of 8, Naksh embarked on an entrepreneurial journey.

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His journey began unexpectedly when his elder brother asked him to draw on a pair of shoes. The response was overwhelming, and soon, people were leaving their white shoes at Naksh's place with a slip indicating their favourite character and contact number. “They collect their revamped shoes after four days of my work on it,” said Naksh.

His business involves drawing characters on white footwear and turning them into wearable pieces of art. The best part is that most of the proceeds from his sales go straight to charity.

For Dh30, Naksh transforms these shoes into pieces of art. “For those who don't have their own shoes, I procure a pair and charge Dh100 with the artwork. The proceeds from these transactions are then directed towards various charitable causes, and for now, it’s for the children of Gaza,” said Naksh.

Naksh doesn't limit his creativity and business to weekends. He dedicates his free time and study breaks to painting shoes, mugs, coasters, and tote bags.

“I'm truly amazed by the support. People are loving the specially designed tote bags, all priced at Dh30, and every bit of it goes straight to charity. It warms my heart to see so many caring souls joining in,” Naksh said.

The message Naksh wants to convey to his peers is: “We are all good at some aspect; let’s come together and use our goodness to make the world a better place to live in.”

He wants his art to be a medium to paint the lives of those going through a colourless patch, dealing with depression and suffering. He is requesting everyone to come forward and contribute in their small way, accepting orders for tote bags and shoes only for the month of November.


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