Three-year-old spends birthday donating Iftar in Dubai

Filed on May 30, 2018 | Last updated on May 30, 2018 at 12.49 pm
Layth distributes Iftar meals to workers

Layth Mohammed was among 32 family friends and colleagues who donated iftar meals at a construction site.

Instead of having a big party for his third birthday, a Dubai-based toddler spent his afternoon distributing 760 Iftar meals to workers on a construction site.

Wearing a hat, light T-shirt and shorts to be stay comfortable in the afternoon heat, Layth Mohammed, who just turned three years old, handed the workers Iftar boxes of chicken biryani, dates and water, as they performed their duties at the Nakheel Mall construction site on Palm Jumeirah.

"We wanted to teach him about sharing and giving to the less fortunate, with it being Ramadan this was the perfect time. With some help from my colleagues, we were able to raise enough to distribute 760 hot meals to these hardworking men who continue to work so hard whilst fasting in 40+ degrees," said his mother Zahra Mohammed, a talent acquisition manager in Dubai.

Layth was among 32 family friends and colleagues from Parisima who donated and helped in distributing food on site with their children.

He often joins his mother in filling up the fridge she had set up by her place on the Palm, as part of the annual Ramadan Sharing Fridges initiative. Zahra said she wanted to offer workers more substantial meals. "We saw workers coming by Iftar time or evenings to pick up fruits and drinks, but we felt they needed hot meals from time to time. Since we aren't allowed to share cooked food in these fridges for health and safety concerns, I thought of arranging a distribution at least once this Ramadan," said Zahra.

"As Layth's third birthday was approaching, I wanted to spend the money that would go on his party to encourage him to help the less fortunate," she said. At 12pm, volunteers joined workers on site and distributed meals for an hour. Despite the harsh afternoon sun, families and children enjoyed the feeling of giving. "It was a real struggle, but it puts things into perspective. We joined these workers for an hour whilst fasting and couldn't stand the heat yet they work for hours outside. It made us feel part of the pain they go through on a daily basis," said Zahra.

"It was a brilliant learning experience for the kids and a humbling experience for us adults," she added.

Zahra said she was overwhelmed by the number of colleagues and contributors that turned out on the day, despite the summer heat. "We have huge amount of respect for people who work so hard to build our city," said Zahra, stressing on the importance of giving and showing appreciation throughout the year.

Although her son Layth might be too young to understand, Zahra said implementing the sense of giving in children at a young age is important, especially by involving them in the action.

"Ever since he was born, I have been taking him to fill up the fridge with water and fruits. Even if he's too young, it's still a good learning experience for him to become aware that there are less fortunate people who need help," said Zahra.

The beauty of living in a multicultural environment like Dubai lies in how people from different nationalities and religions come together to give back to their communities and do good. "It's humbling to be able to give back. If you can help, however small or big, even if it involves buying water for workers nearby, then do it. Giving is better than receiving and is one of the kindest things we can do."


Sherouk Zakaria

"Born and raised in UAE, Sherouk Zakaria is a Senior Correspondent at Khaleej Times. Joined since May 2016, she covers Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), special events and humanitarian issues. Her choice of journalism as a career stems from her passion of telling people's stories and writing to inspire or make a difference. In her free time, she's an occasional theater and film actress. Sherouk received her BA in Mass Communications from the American University in Sharjah in 2013. Before joining Khaleej Times, she was a senior lifestyle/entertainment editor for a magazine in Dubai."

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