Dubai-based couple raises funds for sick kids by playing prince and princess

 

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai - Keeping the social distance measures in place, Ahmed and Hanna do not go inside the houses during their visits but the parents bring their kids to the doorstep.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Fri 26 Jun 2020, 10:53 AM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2020, 12:59 PM

Imagine a princess showing up on your doorstep? That is exactly what a Dubai couple has been doing by their doorstep visits to houses of children under 12 who've been confined to their homes for the longest time.
Hanna and Ahmed El-Shennawy, who own an entertainment company of singing princesses and super heroes, decided to launch their first charity initiative after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted lives and businesses, including their own.
Originally from the UK, Hanna El-Shennawy, founder and co-partner of Princess Parties UAE, said her company would offer singing princesses packages to host children's parties but when the pandemic struck, her business took a hit.
"We realised that children were the ones who were affected the most as they were stuck indoors and couldn't go to school or even meet their friends. During this time, we also got a chance to visit Al Jalila Foundation where we saw the noble work the foundation was doing to serve sick children. This is when we decided to do our bit to serve the country in these tough times by launching our charity initiative called Doorstep Princess
Portraits to raise funds for sick children at the foundation. This way we would be able to cater to both - children stuck at homes due to the pandemic as well as raise funds for children who are unwell and being taken care of by the foundation," Hanna told Khaleej Times.
The Doorstep Princess Portraits charity initiative sees Ahmed and Hanna dress as prince and princess respectively and visit homes of children under 12, where they sing a song with them and get professional pictures clicked with them. In return, the families donate a stipulated amount that goes to raise funds for sick children at Al Jalila Foundation.
Lauding the couple's charity initiative, Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO, Al Jalila Foundation, said: "As a philanthropic organization, our fundraising strategy is central to our mission to transform lives through treatment, education and research programmes. It's inspiring to see that despite the challenges that Covid-19 has had on our lives, members of the community are determined to use this time to do good and make a difference to people's lives. We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible supporters, like Princess Parties UAE, who organise creative fundraising campaigns to support Al Jalila Foundation."
Calling it a heartfelt initiative, Ahmed said the cause is close to his heart as his sister, who stays in Egypt with his parents, suffers from severe autism. He felt the need of spreading positivity and bringing smiles to children who were either unwell or locked up in houses due to the pandemic. "Previously, we had visited and volunteered at Al Jalila hospital and seen the work they are doing. It really warmed our hearts and we wanted to do what we could to contribute," he said. 
Ahmed who works in the technology department at a bank, doubles up as prince charming with his wife Hanna during their doorstep visits. He is also a professional photographer and takes pictures and videos of the children as they pose with Hanna as the princess.
Hanna moved to the UAE two years ago and launched her company of singing princesses and super heroes with her husband. The duo played for the parties along with a troupe of professionally trained performers. However, due to the pandemic, the couple decided to do the charity initiative without their performers.
"Since we posted about this charity initiative on our social media accounts, a number of parents contacted us and agreed to donate for the cause. We then plan a visit as a surprise for the kids. Ahmed and I dress up elaborately (as told to us by parents) and knock on their doors. This way we surprise the kids, who stare at us in disbelief. It is an amazing experience both for us and the children."
Keeping the social distance measures in place, Ahmed and Hanna do not go inside the houses during their visits but the parents bring their kids to the doorstep.
The couple dedicates three hours - 3pm to 6pm - for the Doorstep Princess Portraits depending on invites they have received for the day and can maximum cover eight children on a day.
saman@khaleejtimes.com
 


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