Gauri, Mayur and their son Miraan with the workers.- Supplied photo
Dubai - They exchanged New Year wishes as they gave out food packs to around 60 workers.
As people gear up for New Year's Eve parties, one Dubai family decided to spend the last day of the year cheering up some construction workers who were tirelessly working away from their loved ones.
Dressed for the occasion, Gauri, her husband Mayur Hotwani, and their three-year-old son Miraan donned safety hats and jackets, as they organised a small get-together at a construction site. They exchanged New Year wishes as they gave out food packs to around 60 workers.
Gauri, head of curriculum at The Kindergarten Starters School, said she had never really celebrated New Year's Eve, but with her son growing up, she decided to mark it meaningfully and inspire him to make a difference in people's lives.
"I always wonder why New Year is celebrated with such great enthusiasm and why people spend so much money on the last day of the year. What is so special about the year ending? Why don't we reflect and think of all the young children and people who haven't got their meal today. According to Unicef, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
"So, this year we decided to celebrate the New Year's Eve with some construction workers, as Miraan is fascinated by construction vehicles and has all the tools at home. He can spend hours watching them work on a building and has been seeing the construction of three buildings in the last year around our vicinity," Gauri said.
The family reached the Dubai Hills Estate construction site at 3:30pm and started the event at around 4:15pm, since the workers' buses were expected to arrive at 5:00pm to bring them to their accommodations.
They may have had less than an hour but Gauri, Mayur and Miraan made the most of every second. The couple thanked the workers in a short speech, and Miraan handed 'thank you' notes, which were written by his friends.
Since Gauri and Mayur wanted more people to acknowledge the work that the labourers do, they decided to get their son's nursery involved.
"Miraan attends the winter camp at Chubby Cheeks Nursery, Karama. He encouraged all his nursery friends to make 'Thank You' cards for the labourers, thanking them for how they work hard and make fancy homes for them," Gauri said.
The family popped party poppers along with the labourers to ring in the New Year, and handed the dinner packs shortly before the group boarded their buses.
Each food pack contained freshly cooked vegetable biryani (mixed rice dish), raita (Indian side dish), papad (thin, crisp, disc-shaped snack) and gulab jamun (milk-based dessert) from Mini Punjab Restaurant located in Bur Dubai.
Sanjay, manager of the restaurant, said: "We are inspired by this family's heart-touching gesture and I will also ask other food outlets to do the same. We are more satisfied when the food goes to people who need it for survival rather than being wasted."
"Approximately 22 tonnes of food per eatery or 38 per cent of food gets wasted every day. This means if someone eats out in a restaurant, half a kilo of food usually goes to waste," he added.
Talking about the need to inspire children, Gauri said: "I always have a chat with my son regarding his needs and wants. Every time we go shopping, he looks at new toys and wants more despite having a lot of them at home. I think this is the right time when you talk to your children about the needs and wants and start small.
"Teaching small kids about humanity is tough because, at this age, it is very difficult for them to empathise without experiencing it. I take Miraan for walks and get him to interact with the construction workers right from the time when he first donated goodies on his last birthday."