'Future is secured': Labourers, drivers, helpers earning less than Dh3,000 win Dh35 million in Abu Dhabi Big Ticket

Group of 19 Bangladeshis and an Indian expat have been purchasing tickets for the past 9 years but never got lucky until this week of the New Year


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Wed 4 Jan 2023, 12:37 PM

Last updated: Wed 4 Jan 2023, 5:45 PM

A bunch of 20 expats earning between Dh1,000 to Dh3,000 have won Dh35 million in Abu Dhabi’s Big Ticket raffle draw, offering its biggest-ever prize money.

The 19 Bangladeshis and an Indian expat have been purchasing raffle tickets for the past nine years but never got lucky until this week of the New Year. They are daily wage labourers, drivers, painters, helpers and others doing odd jobs who save up money and contribute whatever each person can to buy a ticket every month.

Mohammed Rayful, a pickup and family taxi driver, who bought the winning ticket on December 10, said that the group is excited and trying to soak in the fact that they are millionaires now.

“We all are from less privileged backgrounds. We are all trying to make a living here. Most of us make somewhere between Dh1,000 to Dh3,000. All have been facing financial crunch and always hoped things would improve,” said Rayful over the phone from Al Ain.

The 39-year-old was at work driving through the market area when Big Ticket host Richard and Bouchra tried to call him but in vain. “I was driving and unable to attend. But one group member was watching the live show and informed me. I could hardly believe it. So, I checked the live show and found the number matching that on my ticket. It was a blessed moment,” said Rayful, who makes between Dh2,000 to Dh3,000 a month.

Others in the group like Mohammed Aftab, Mahabub, Mohammed Rubel and Toyeb are overjoyed at this unexpected windfall at the start of the year.

“This has been a great beginning to 2023. Our future is now secure. We have been trying for so many years and pooling in the money. Depending on our capacity, some would contribute more, maybe Dh150 or Dh200 and others would chip in with Dh25 or Dh50. This time too, our contributions varied,” they said.

The group of overnight millionaires haven’t made up their mind on what to do with the money in the future and all of them are back to their normal work today.

“One person said that we have won 100 crores in Bangladeshi taka. Our lives have been settled but we will continue to work as normal. We will decide on what to do with the money in the coming days. This is God’s blessings and the result of everyone’s prayers. We have to remain humble and help other countrymen in need,” they said. “We will continue to buy Big Ticket,” Rayful added.

People can buy tickets for next month’s draw for Dh23 million, which will be held on February 3. There is also a weekly electronic draw for 1kg gold. Tickets can be bought online at www.bigticket.ae or by visiting the in-store counters at Abu Dhabi International Airport or Al Ain Airport.


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