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UAE: Two school bus supervisors prepare home-cooked meals for colleagues with Covid

Ranjanie Rupasinghe and Lalitha Fernando cooked Sri Lankan food and arranged direct delivery to 16 coworkers who were in quarantine

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

By Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Sat 19 Feb 2022, 9:12 AM

Last updated: Sat 19 Feb 2022, 10:40 PM

Realising the limited food options available for school support staff in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19, two Sri Lankan bus supervisors took the initiative to prepare meals for their infected colleagues.

Ranjanie Rupasinghe and Lalitha Fernando, bus supervisors at GEMS International School – Al Khail, cooked homemade food and arranged direct delivery to 16 colleagues who were in quarantine amid the surge of Covid-19 cases and staff who were close contacts.

"We know that it is not easy to be locked up in a room during the pandemic, and we feel what they go through during this period,” said Rupasinghe, a bus monitor at GEMS International School – Al Khail (GIS) since 2015.

"Though food can be delivered, one may surely feel the urge to eat something out of routine, so we decided to ‘wow’ our colleagues by cooking and sending them simple Sri Lankan food, as we know they enjoy our spicy food.”

Rupasinghe and Fernando cooked home-style Sri Lankan vegetable curry with coconut milk, coconut chutney, fried fish and supplemented it with boiled eggs.

"This is the kind of food you would find in any household if you visit unannounced. I picked up my cooking skills from my mother, who used to manage our house,” noted Rupasinghe, mother of a 21-year-old son back home.

Fernando said beyond preparing food, it was the genuine care she wanted to show her colleagues during these challenging times.

"I would have felt happy if someone would have prepared home-style food and sent it along. All I did was to do the same towards my colleagues. I feel that it is not what you give, but the genuine love and care that goes along with it,” said Fernando.

The heart-warming gesture was recognised by the recipients, who felt supported in self-isolation, and by the head of school,who awarded both women a personal certificate of commendation in recognition for their efforts.

Rupasinghe and Fernando said they received personal messages from their colleagues, parents and students for inspiring the school’s community and spreading kindness.

Rupasinghe said: “My mother and father always told us that regardless of what we have in hand, never shy away from helping someone else, and I feel that I have followed their teachings and passed these on to my children as well.”

Fernando, who had been involved in volunteering work back home, said: “Coming from Sri Lanka, I have always been brought up with the values of helping others regardless of your financial situation.”


Commenting on the initiative of the staff members, Simon Herbert, Head of School/CEO, GEMS International School – Al Khail, said: “During challenging times, kind people come to the fore and reach out to others. This was exemplified by two wonderful support staff at GEMS International School, who decided to provide home-cooked food for their friends in quarantine and self-isolation. They cooked for dozens of people, organised delivery and ensured everyone had the best culinary experience! They reaffirmed our school’s culture of kindness and respect.”


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