It’s one of Dubai’s most wonderful Ramadan initiatives…

Ramadan is almost upon us, and many Dubai residents will be starting to think about ways they can give back to the community during this special time.

You may have heard about Ramadan Sharing Fridges. It all started in 2016, with the creation of a Facebook group encouraging people to set up and stock fridges all over Dubai for those in need to help themselves to.

The rest, as they say, is history. The group now has almost 28,000 members, and last year saw the establishment of more than 170 fridges across the city. It is estimated that each fridge feeds at least 100 people a day.

ALSO READ: New to Dubai? Here’s everything you need to know about Ramadan

The concept of a “sharing fridge” isn’t new to the UAE – it’s part of Emirati tradition to share food and water, particularly over the month of Ramadan, but the power of Facebook has taken the initiative to a whole new level.

Want to know how you can get involved in 2018? We spoke to Fridge Manager Anne Mulcahy to find out more…

If people are new to Dubai, what should they know about the Ramadan Sharing Fridges initiative?

Ramadan Sharing Fridges are about sharing what you have with the less fortunate. During Ramadan, kind-hearted members of the community will place a spare fridge in their patio or garage. Everyone is welcome to fill the fridge and those who need it (our community workers) are welcome to it. A cool drink or fruit is very much appreciated in such hot days! The fridges are all about sharing and building bridges – saying hello and a brief chat at the fridges is a common sight. 

How did it all start?

It began in Ramadan 2016, and since then the initiative has become licensed under the patronage of the Emirates Red Crescent to operate over Ramadan 2017 and 2018 in Dubai. 

 It began with a single fridge in the Springs and a Facebook group ‘Ramadan Sharing Fridges in the UAE’ that grew to over 28,000 members ready to help! It brought the community together – business, corporates, individuals were all chilling at the fridge (pun intended). We are all different cultures, different nationalities and religions.

While the world was in pain, Ramadan fridges positively proved that we do have a common ground that unites us. Dubai showed the world what is possible when we put our differences aside and unite to a greater purpose. 

How many fridges are expected this year?

So far, we have around 20 fridges ready to go and each day more are listed to start on day 1 of Ramadan. But this is not about duplicating the fridges – it is about ensuring these fridges are full throughout Ramadan. We are encouraging Fridge Managers to work together and understand how hard it is to keep a continuous supply for a month. Better having only one fridge that is full in a community than several empty.

This year we really encourage the colleges of Dubai to adopt a fridge. Spending time beside a fridge and helping out is an invaluable life lesson.

What sort of preparations have the team been doing in the lead-up to Ramadan?

We’ve been active for the last couple of months gearing up behind the scenes. Teams have been set up to handle the various tasks – we have operations handling the logistics, distribution, deliveries and inventories. A sponsorship liaison has been set up to manage coordinate with future sponsor companies. We have admins managing online social media engagement and PR. It’s quite a lot of work and we manage this alongside our careers, families and other day to day activities. 

How can people get involved? 

Join us on our socials and stay abreast of issues as they unfold. We pride ourselves in being organic and flourishing as things happen – there’s always something new happening. 

Whether you want to start a fridge or fill a fridge (the feeling is amazing either way), find one on our maps and stop by to fill it. 

Check out the first version of the 2018 map here:

Is there anything people can do starting from now?

As our license is for Ramadan only, we encourage everyone to wait until then. In the meantime, if you’re interested in opening a fridge, please contact us and we’ll advise you accordingly. The interest has been overwhelmingly positive and we are so excited to hit the ground running come day 1 of Ramadan. 

What sorts of things should people donate?

Fruit juices, soda, milk, laban, packaged foods. Fruit and vegetables are very well received. Please keep in mind: no cooked food.

To find out more, join the Facebook group Ramadan/Sharing Fridges in the UAE, and like the Ramadan Sharing Fridges page. You can also follow @ramadanfridgesdxb on Instagram.

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