‘I’m the only family they have’: Meet UAE’s famous racer, Netflix star who spends earnings helping others

The 23-year-old has been using her earnings to build a school and hospital in Uganda


Nasreen Abdulla

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


Published: Wed 30 Aug 2023, 11:03 AM

Last updated: Wed 30 Aug 2023, 12:52 PM

When you hear the words drag racing in the UAE, there’s just one name that comes to mind — Hamda Taryam.

A seasoned racer and star of the Netflix show 'The Fastest', Hamda has carved a niche for herself. What’s more, the 23-year-old has been using her earnings for a good cause — to build a school and hospital in Uganda.

Starting racing as a teenager, Hamda made a lot of money quickly. “People my age were blowing up their money but I saved it,” she said. “I was enjoying myself but I felt empty. I felt like I had the world but I don’t have happiness.”

As someone who loved to help others, she first built a school. “When I first saw the kids coming into the school, I cried,” she said. “Many of them, they are orphans. This school is the only hope they have. I am the only family they have. Their love was so pure.”

Later, when Hamda visited the school, the kids enveloped her with love. “They were standing around me, touching me and saying ‘you are real’ because they had only seen me through video calls,” she said. “They treated me like I was their family. It was the most beautiful feeling in the world.”

Hamda was so touched by their love that she decided to do more. She bought a piece of land and built a hospital there. Today the school and hospital together serve hundreds of locals in Uganda.

Of Netflix fame

For Hamda, the Netflix series 'The Fastest' happened by chance. “They actually reached out to me on Instagram,” she said. “I got a message saying that there was a series and asked if I was interested to be part of it. When I asked for more details, they sent me the confidentiality document. Once I signed it, I got to know that it was Netflix.”

Although Hamda didn’t like the drama on the series, she said she enjoyed the experience. “Most of the drama was scripted,” she said. “But I really enjoyed the experience of being on the series. Also, it was only after the series that many people in the UAE heard about me. So it gave me some recognition.”

A passion that started young

For Hamda Taryam, her love affair with cars started at the young age of 15. “I got Dh10,000 when I worked on a project,” she said. “So the first thing I did was buy a beaten up, second-hand car.”

While taking the car out in the desert to drive, she stared facing issues with it, which led her into garages. “As the various nuts and bolts started coming out of the car, I learnt how to fix them myself,” she said. “This led to drag racing and soon, I knew that this is all I wanted to do.”

Hamda credits her family for being incredibly supportive. “They always knew that I was in love with cars,” she said. “So when I told them I was going to take up racing full time, they fully expected it and supported me.”


More news from UAE