Dubai: Egyptian restaurant offers free meals to those in need

Fatta Kawareh restaurant in Abu Hail started the initiative during the month of Ramadan


Lamya Tawfik

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Published: Mon 21 Nov 2022, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 21 Nov 2022, 9:42 PM

“If you want to be happy, help others.” This is the philosophy of Atiya Yousef, the manager of an Egyptian restaurant offering free meals to those who need them.

Fatta Kawareh, a restaurant known for traditional Egyptian food in Abu Hail, has a sign that says ‘Everything belongs to Allah. Free meals to those who need.’

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Atiya said that the initiative started when the owners of the restaurant noticed people who couldn’t afford the meals walking into the restaurant. “They started to think about how to best provide them with a decent meal. And then we suggested this initiative which we used to do back home, in Alexandria.”

The initiative started from the month of Ramadan, when the Abu Hail branch opened. Atiya said that they noticed that many people having been going through difficult times, especially since the start of the pandemic. “We just want to help. This all belongs to God, and it is an Islamic teaching to spend from what you love,” he said.

After seeing many people in need, the staff became attuned and able to spot them immediately and they sometimes reach out to them. “The minute we see them outside, we know who they are, and we give them the meals. You see the issue is that sometimes people are embarrassed, but we believe that as a human being you have the right to eat and to live,” he said.

However, it is sometimes difficult to get people to come forward. “They were hesitant in the beginning. We see people who need the food, and they don’t come in and so we invite them,” he said, adding that others come in just for a free meal if they’re working. “We don’t stop them or question them, we truly believe that charity doesn’t decrease money,” he said.


If someone needs food but doesn’t really like Egyptian food, they found a solution. “We can’t force everyone to like Egyptian food, so we give them sandwiches or any other alternative meal that isn’t strictly Egyptian.” He also said that they try to have a variety in their free meals offering so that those receiving them aren’t bored.

When asked if the initiative has affected their business, he said it is God who sends them customers every day. “You know, the day in which we don’t give away any free meals, we actually don’t do well business-wise,” he said. It also makes sense to give away the free meals, he explained, because you can’t keep the food in the restaurant for the next day. “So why not give it away? It’s very important that we put ourselves in the shoes of others,” he said.

Atiya said that he wishes that other restaurants adopt similar initiatives to reach more people. In fact, there have been other similar initiatives in the past.

Earlier this year, another restaurant Yummy Dosa, announced that they would be giving free meals to blood doners till the end of 2022. They made the announcement on World Blood Donor Day and said the initiative is aimed at showing appreciation to the donors’ selfless act of helping others.

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