UAE: Indian expat wins five times in one night in Emirates Draw

Ahamed Rafeeque won over Dh23,000 during the first-of-its-kind incident


A Staff Reporter

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Photo for illustrative purposes
Photo for illustrative purposes

Published: Thu 2 Jun 2022, 2:22 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Jun 2022, 3:40 PM

Ahamed Rafeeque is very hopeful about his future after winning five times in the same draw. The Indian national won a combined total of Dh23,415 when three of his five tickets each matched four out of seven digits during Emirates Draw’s latest live stream show, a fourth matched two out of seven, and a final fifth matched one out of seven.

“I was very excited when I found out that I had won Dh7,777 three times, and also Dh77 and Dh7 one time each. Thank you Emirates Draw for this great opportunity. I’m going to keep participating, and I hope that I’ll win again in the future,” he said.

Ahamed Rafeeque
Ahamed Rafeeque

Priscilla Buenaventura and her husband are also optimistic about their future after the 39-year-old won Dh77,777 with Emirates Draw. The family is struggling under the burden of Dh100,000 debt that began when they wanted to get a residency visa for their then-baby daughter. They say they will use part of the winnings towards reducing it.

“I still can’t believe that I won. It was the first time that we participated with Emirates Draw, and now, we feel hopeful for the first time in two years. Thank you to Emirates Draw for helping us turn our situation around,” she said.

Priscilla Buenaventura
Priscilla Buenaventura

The Dubai-based couple plans to split the winnings towards paying down the debt, their daughter’s school fees for the upcoming year, and paying off fines.

It all began in 2012, when they discovered they needed to have an Ejari tenancy contract to sponsor their now nine-year-old daughter. They approached two individuals who claimed they could help Priscilla and her husband navigate the process in return for four cheques amounting to Dh105,000.

“The financiers used the cheques to register an apartment under my name. Things were fine between 2012 and 2020 so we didn’t really give it much thought, but then they disappeared when the pandemic started and since then, we’ve been dealing with one stressful situation after another,” the Filipina expatriate explained.

To their bewilderment, they began receiving messages, calls, and complaints about missing payments and bounced cheques. Things escalated when Priscilla stopped working, which meant they were now dependent wholly on her husband’s income.

“We’re still trying to figure out to solve our situation…we haven’t even been able to renew things, such as my residence visa and our car registration since October 2021, which has impacted a lot of things. Now though, it feels like we can breathe for a bit. I want to start looking for a job, but until we pay the overstay fines, it’s difficult to do anything. I’ve applied to reduce my overstay fine and hopefully, if my request is accepted then I’ll be able to pay off the remaining amount and start things again with a clean slate,” the former sales promoter said.

“We’re going to keep trying and hopefully we’ll win at least Dh77,777 again. It would really help us with everything we’re dealing with here and with our home back in the Philippines.”

Another fellow Filipino expatriate, John Glenn Robles Tahil, revealed that while he was happy to have won Dh7,777. He was still in disbelief after missing winning Dh77,777 by just one number on his ticket.

“My group of friends and I participate every week, and we take turns monthly to purchase the entries. It just happened that we won on my turn. It was a colleague who noticed that we had won while watching the live stream. I checked my dashboard and email and saw the Dh7,777, which made us all very happy,” John, who works in IT, said.

The 38-year-old, who lives in Ajman, plans to send his share to support his mother in the Philippines. The group plans to continue participating in the hope that they will win again soon.

“I really hope that the next time we win, it will be in one of the higher categories. If we do, or if we win the 100 million Grand Prize, then I’ll use my share to start a business and purchase a farm. It’s my dream to start a livestock business back home,” Tahil said, smiling.

Neichma Daod Nathoo, a French expatriate based in Dubai, likewise shared Ahamed’s excitement at winning. Neichma almost missed the congratulatory email notifying her that she had won Dh7,777 if it were not for a spur-of-the-moment decision to clear out her junk folder.

“It was such an unexpected thing to see, but I’m happy that I won because I’ve been participating for several months. I tried to encourage my husband to join me, but he refused because he didn’t believe in draws. He was shocked when I told him I won Dh7,777,” the retired fashion designer, who has lived in Dubai for 15 years, said, laughing.

The 61-year-old added: “I’m going to put this amount in savings, but I’m also going to keep participating because I’m a big believer in Emirates Draw. If I win again, especially if it’s a higher amount, I’m going to give a part of the amount to help my brother and his children.”


Another winner who had a surprise was Mohamed Yehia Salem. When he first saw the congratulatory email early in the morning, he initially couldn’t believe that he had won with Emirates Draw. An even greater shock for the sales supervisor was the fact that he won Dh77,777 after participating regularly for six months.

“When I first saw the email, it took me a few minutes to realise that message said I had won Dh77,777 instead of Dh77. This really made my day; thank you Emirates Draw. I’ve been participating every week or so since I found out about it on Facebook because I like that Emirates Draw is giving back through its Coral Reef Restoration Programme,” Mohamed, who is based in Dubai, said, smiling.

He added: “I’m going to donate a part of my winnings in memory of my mother, who passed away last month. The remaining amount will be used to finish building my house back in Egypt and furnishing, which will save me two years of work.”

Retired project manager Usama Mohamad Abushaqra was also surprised when he discovered that he had won Dh7,777, as it was the first time that he had won anything in a raffle draw.

“I’ve been participating since Emirates Draw began in September. My wife told me about it, and I was attracted by the draw because I wanted to secure myself and my family, especially if I were to win any of the higher amounts or even the grand prize,” the 67-year-old Australian expatriate, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for over 28 years, said.

Since its inception nine months ago, Emirates Draw has distributed over Dh26 million in prize money to over 19,000 participants.

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