From Dh5 items to karak tea: How UAE students raised money for Gaza war victims

The lively bazaar featured handcrafted items, mouthwatering delicacies, and fun activities for visitors of all ages


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Fri 15 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 17 Dec 2023, 2:44 PM

A university in Ajman recently transformed its campus into a winter market with a cause — all proceeds will be donated to help war victims in Gaza.

Students at a Gulf Medical University orchestrated the lively bazaar, which featured handcrafted items, mouthwatering delicacies, and fun activities for visitors of all ages.

The initiative reflects a powerful blend of festivity and philanthropy, with students recognising the importance of extending a helping hand during the holiday season. The market was not only an opportunity for the students, the staff and the faculty to come together in joyous celebration, but also a collective effort to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who have endured the ravages of war.

Proceeds from the event will be directed towards Emirates Red Crescent’s humanitarian efforts in Palestine, providing aid and assistance to the war-torn victims.

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MK, a stall by an Emirati student Mahra Khalid Al Shamsi, who is studying her first year of Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Gulf Medical University, said that she felt a strong desire to contribute to the cause of Gaza in any way she could, and the idea of setting up a stall featuring Emirati foods with a modern twist emerged as a meaningful way to make a difference. “Witnessing the success of our sales was not just a moment of joy but a realization that our community resonates with compassion and generosity. Our leaders, UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, have been committed to supporting causes like this, and we wanted to showcase our participation as well,” said Al Shamsi.

Mahra Khalid Al Shamsi
Mahra Khalid Al Shamsi

“It is not just about the food, it’s about embodying the spirit of unity and solidarity. We are proud to be a part of a community that cares deeply about making a positive impact, and we hope our humble contribution adds to the collective efforts aimed at bringing relief and support to those in need,” said Al Shamsi.

Mahra’s stall featured a fusion of traditional Emirati flavors with a modern flair, including the beloved karak chai, the Oman chips sandwich, and samboosa sandwiches, ranging from the Nutella sandwich to the vine leaves fettah. The innovative twist on traditional dishes was also seen in the vine leaves fettah with Cheetos.

Sualiman Ballout, a student of Bachelor of Biomedical Science (BBMS) at GMU brought his family favourites – honey cake, donuts, and tea – to the winter market. “It was heartening to see the community embrace them with such enthusiasm. My mom’s honey cake, a beloved treat within our family, was a clear favourite, and I knew it would be the perfect choice to raise funds for the victims of the Gaza war. To witness them selling out within the first hour of the market opening was not just a success for me but a reflection of the generosity of our community,” he said.

“It is more than a market; it’s a platform for me to express my enthusiasm for working and to contribute in any way I can to the cause we deeply care about."

Mubarra Sahar, first year student at the College of Nursing, brought her mother’s favourite hobby to the market – a collection of 120 crafted crochet pieces.

Mubarra Sahar
Mubarra Sahar

“From handmade tablecloths and keychains to bookmarks and baskets, which were created within a week... the response was overwhelming, and I'm happy to have sold many of them,” said Sahar.

“The price of these crochet products started at Dh5 up to Dh20 for a few items. Many of the students and teachers at the university loved it. I am happy I could make little impact,” she added.


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