Watch: UAE-based businessman Yusuff Ali reunites with classmates after 52 years, donates over Dh200,000 to alma mater

He arrived for the event in a helicopter and was given a red carpet welcome to the school


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 16 Aug 2023, 9:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 17 Aug 2023, 6:23 PM

UAE-based businessman M. A. Yusuff Ali returned to his school in the Indian state of Kerala for an emotional reunion with his classmates and former teachers. The managing director of Lulu group of companies met with his friends at the St. Xavier's High School in Karanchira almost 52 years after he graduated from there.

Yusuff Ali arrived for the reunion in his personal chopper. From there he travelled to the school in his white Range Rover, where he was given a red-carpet welcome.

Upon reaching there, the business magnate was first greeted by his teachers and a silk shawl is wrapped around him, as a token of appreciation. As he entered the classroom, he is greeted with applause.

There he interacted with his former batchmates, many of whom he remembered by name. Then they all squeezed into the rickety wooden benches and tables laid out in the classroom. “Were you in class 10-B,” he can be heard asking someone in a video. He also recited a poem by Malayali poet Changanpuzha along with his classmates.

Then, Yusuff Ali greeted his teacher and kisses her hand. “You have taught me a lot,” he said. He is also heard credited the teacher with laying the foundation for fast calculation.

The classmates and teacher cut a cake together. He fed the cake to his teacher and kissed her on the forehead. Then they shared some snacks together before clicking selfies together, as can be seen in the video below.

He also made a donation of approximately Dh220,000 to his school fund before leaving.

This is not the first time that the businessman and philanthropist has returned to his alma mater. In 2021, he visited the school, planted a tree and met his teachers. However, this is the first time that he has returned for a reunion.

First arriving in the UAE in 1973, Yusuff Ali began his stint in the city helping his uncle out in a grocery. With his keen business acumen, he established the Lulu group of hypermarkets in the 1990s, forever changing the retail landscape in the UAE.

Today, he is one of the richest entrepreneurs in the region, with business interests in retail, hospitality and several other industries. Lulu Group International also acquired the Great Scotland Yard in 2015 for a whopping Dh550 million. The group then completed a hotel makeover worth Dh250 million. The property was inaugurated as a hotel in 2019.


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