UAE: These workers hit Dh25 million jackpot after months of pooling in money for raffles

A group of 14 people pooled in small amounts every month to buy tickets

File photo
File photo

By SM Ayaz Zakir and Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 22 Jan 2022, 12:32 PM

Last updated: Sat 22 Jan 2022, 10:39 PM

UAE raffle draws have helped many fulfil their dreams and uplift their living standards. Many have won individually, while many pool in money to participate in the raffles. However, the majority of winners dream of lifting their families' prospects and securing their futures for a better tomorrow.

One such man is Haridasan Moothattil Vasunni, who hit the Dh25-million jackpot at the Big Ticket draw this month.

Haridasan pooled in money to buy tickets to the draw along with his group of 14 Indian friends, most of them earning between Dh3,000 to Dh4,000. The group includes drivers, supervisors, engineers, foremen, draftsmen, technicians and the like.

The winning ticket number 232976 was bought by Haridasan Moothattil Vasunni, a supervisor and driver, in his name.

"I haven't been regularly buying tickets. For the past two months, I bought them using my name. Usually, we would buy it online, but this time I went to the airport and purchased it," the Mussafah resident said.

He said that all his friends lived under financial stress, and the jackpot was a "blessing".

"We would try to pool Dh1,000 per month. Those who can will contribute money ranging from Dh50 to Dh100. Each person has been wading through challenges and hardships. Now our lives have reached the shore of financial security. We all have low incomes. We have families to look after. God has blessed us now. It's our responsibility to use it wisely and for good deeds."

Ansar Ebrahim, a 43-year-old draftsman from Al Ain, is planning to return to his home state of Kerala.

"I have been trying my luck for the last two years and always hoped that one day I would get one of the prizes. But I never anticipated hitting the jackpot."

Ebrahim said the prize money had secured their future, especially in the uncertain times of the pandemic.

"I hope to return home and start something there. I have a wife and three kids. Two of them are going to school and the junior-most is a baby. Now, I can provide them a better future. This windfall will help all of us to plan our lives in a better way. Everyone has debts, loans, financial issues and difficulties."

Sumith Sasidharan, a 33-year-old mechanical engineer, is looking forward to seeing his parents live in their own home.

"We never had our own home. Since my childhood, it was a dream to someday have my parents live in their own home. I never expected lady luck to smile at me like this," he said.

"I thank God for this. My brother, too, wants to have his own home. So, both of us can now fulfil our dreams. I can finally have my parents sleep in their own home. But I will be careful about spending this money. We should not be extravagant."

Emirates Draw winners

It was the happiest end to 2021 for cancer diagnosed patient Melroy Fernandes. He is a resident of Fujairah who has worked for Fujairah National Quarries since 1987.

Melroy was fearful of the future and what that would mean for his wife and son should the worst happen and didn't think he would win.

Despite his misgivings, he continued to participate every weekend. He won Dh77,777 at the Emirates Draw on December 22, 2021.

With only one son and deep ties to his community back home, Melroy hopes to use his winnings to ensure his son receives the education he deserves.

"This win feels so great! It's my first time ever winning something. I did not expect to win, but I kept trying every Saturday. I feel so happy that I can give my son an education and the future he deserves. This has brought tears to my eyes."

Melroy continues to support those in his hometown who have suffered the most due to Covid.

"It's just been so hard going through the treatment and watching our bank account balance around zero throughout the pandemic because we were sending money to so many people in India to help," said Melroy.


Dipin Diwakaran participated in Emirates Draw along with seven of his friends. He works as a clerk at a private firm in Dubai, and his teammates are salespeople.

The group of seven friends pooled in money equally for their participation and won Dh77,777, with each one taking home Dh11,111.

Dipin first came to Dubai in 2015. He flew to India for a holiday trip in 2019 and was then stranded in his home town of Kochi for over a year, leaving him with no income. Dipin was eventually able to return to the UAE and is presently working as a filing clerk. He said that the winning amount has helped him get rid of his financial crisis.

"I had taken a loan from the bank to build a house for us; the winning amount helped me to repay partially."

Dipin, along with his team, have been trying their luck at the Emirates Draw since its inception and have spent over a thousand dirhams so far. "We are a regular participant at the Emirates Draw and will continue to do so... my group members are also quite willing to participate in every draw. Luck will surely favour us again," Dipin said.

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