Volunteers give back to labourers
Volunteers mark 100 weeks of helping labourers
Friday will be a special day for Inder Bhagnani, but not because it’s his birthday or anniversary. This weekend marks the 100th week of his selfstarted project, Feed A Labour, when he and some friends will be giving out food, clothing and other essentials to Dubai’s labourers.
It all started on a typical day two years ago; Inder was just sitting in a café having a meal. He explains: “I noticed a labourer walk in to buy a sandwich. However, he seemed to be hesitating, and after careful consideration decided to opt for a cup of tea instead. I noticed this and decided to question why he chose to get a cup of tea when he clearly had the money.
“His reply was simple: ‘I had to choose between one sandwich or five cups of tea for the day. The choice was easy’. I decided to pay for his meal and left. “The next day, the same situation occurred. I decided to pay again. Over the next few weeks I started paying for meals for his friends too. This eventually expanded into what we are now.” For the first six months, it was just Inder. He was then joined by friends RJ Prince and MR Dilip, and the trio grew into a group of volunteers that now distributes hot meals of biryani, laban and biscuits to at least 300 labourers on different construction sites in Barsha, Bur Dubai or Business Bay every Saturday. They have also provided shirts and towels, and installed four water coolers at a labour camp in Al Quoz. “Sometimes when we get more people, we put rice, toothpaste, hair oil, etc in the packages. We usually go to the sites during their break time,” says the 29-year-old Indian national. “Being in the real estate industry, I have seen their hard work and they are unappreciated. Spending every Saturday with them makes me want to do this for more people.”
The group doesn’t collect cash, but accepts contributions and people’s spare time instead. Inder explains: “Those who want to help can bring products. If they would like to contribute, they can follow us on Facebook to know the next camp we feed, so they can come and support with food or just be a volunteer.” Companies such as Tiffany and Safeer Group, and some schools, have also extended their help to the initiative.
To mark the 100th milestone, a group of 30-40 volunteers will be providing for 3,000 labourers at a camp in Al Khail on Friday.
Inder says: “Every weekend they wait for us and that keeps us going. Families, children and different nationalities have taken part in the campaign, and thanks to their support we have done more for the labourers.”
Inder says they plan to continue this little project as long as they can: “We want them to know we are here to support and we appreciate every bit of hard work they do. They are the real men behind all the luxury. Having said that, the government has always been very supportive as well, but we as individuals would like to make a difference in their lives even if it’s just once a week.” email@example.com
TEAMWORK: Inder (white shirt) and friends helping out NEXT IN LINE: The Feed A Labour group will mark their 100th week of distributing meal packs this Friday #FeedALabour