Dubai: Treat nannies, cleaners to VIP dinner, massage for Dh250 in one-day event

The event for domestic workers is completely sold out more than two weeks before it is scheduled to take place

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Image used for illustrative purposes. File Photo
Image used for illustrative purposes. File Photo

Published: Tue 21 May 2024, 1:20 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 May 2024, 11:09 PM

Domestic workers in the UAE, including nannies, cleaners, and those who work as household helpers, will get a chance to kick back, relax and enjoy a gala dinner. The initiative by Dubai-based company Helpily will be complete with DJ music, games and a sumptuous meal.

The brainchild of entrepreneurs and childhood friends, Aditi Menon and Jean Pereira, the event has already received a tremendous response and is completely sold out more than two weeks before it is scheduled to take place.


“It is going to be a fun event for the women,” said Menon, speaking to Khaleej Times. “Apart from good food, there are lots of games and prizes, dancing and a little goody bag as a present for each one to take home. We wanted it to be a memorable night for them.”

The tickets, which cost Dh250, were bought by families for their helpers and will give them access to the event which will take place on Saturday, June 8 at the Hilton, Palm Jumeirah. “There will be shoulder massage stations as well as a glitter art section for those wanting to add some sparkle to their look that night,” said Pereira.


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'They are our support system'

Both Menon and Pereira are mothers who worked in the events industry at various points in their careers. “I used to work in the wedding industry in India,” said Pereira. “When I came to Dubai in 2017, I was pregnant and it was hard to get a job. I managed to find a role in a tech startup pertaining to events. However, I quit after one and a half years as I was struggling to balance being a mother and an employee.”

Pereira’s story was similar. “I was a senior producer for corporate events and when I moved to Dubai in 2021, I began freelancing so that I could juggle work and home,” she said. “Six months I would work and six months I would spend with my family. Luckily, Dubai affords us that kind of flexibility.”

It was in October, when the friends reconnected, that they discussed the role of domestic workers, like nannies and cleaners, in their lives.

“We had both struggled at various times and through it all, it was these helpers who became our support system,” said Pereira. “They become such an important part of our family but there are not many avenues for us to show them our appreciation. They have seen us attending gala events and dinner parties but they don’t get to do such things on their own. That is when we came up with the idea of a fun party for our helpers.”

According to Pereira, the response to their event bears testimony to the fact that there are many families who appreciate their helpers. “Our plan was for 100 people and we were worried whether we would be able to fill the spots,” she said.

“However, we saw an outpouring of support and 140 tickets, which was the upper limit of our hall, is fully sold out.”

Future plans

The gala evening is the first of many events planned by Helpily. “We have an entire range of events planned for domestic workers,” said Menon. “We want to organize picnics for them in various communities across the country. This would help them to connect with others and build their own network. The idea is that through our events, we want them to relax and hit the reset button so that they remain motivated.”

In addition to this, Helpily also wants to upskill these workers. “We will soon launch discounted courses including first aid for domestic workers who want to learn new skills and become more employable,” said Pereira.

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