The power of community…

When Covid-19 forced Alserkal Avenue to shut their doors, the community didn’t back down. Rather, they joined forces and fought back in a move that ended up generating a value of more than two million dirhams in kind.

The programme called ‘Alserkal Pay It Forward’ was launched by the Alserkal founder, Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal and the Aserkal family back in April where three months rent was waived to encourage business owners to develop plans to support the community.

And their plans proved fruitful. Here’s how the community came together.  

Culinary concept INKED, turned their space into a community kitchen, where they cooked and delivered over 22,000 meals to frontline workers and vulnerable communities affected by Covid-19.

INKED Alserkal avenue


Donations poured in to help the INKED initiative where the Dhs25 meal and in the end, Dhs162,000 was raised.

The art galleries in Alserkal Avenue such as eL Seed Studio, Kave, The Flip Side and many more contributed to help the scheme through their sales.

The Happy Studio

The Happy Studio

The Happy Studio produced 5,000 masks which were included in INKED meal deliveries, while family-business Italian Shoe Factory produced 500 masks for the UAE Deaf Association.

To help support artists affected by the pandemic, Gulf Photo Plus launched an open call wherein 70 per cent of each sale went directly to the artist. Over 300 artists responded and 145 prints were sold.



Within the community, the support continued with boutique agency electriclimefilms offering post-production services to its fellow community members.

Bukhash Brothers also offered up their studio space for a full day for free to each community member.

Every organisation in the community received vouchers from unisex salon, Chalk encouraging them to get pampered while Appetite cafe provided food and beverage vouchers

Reflecting on the programme Alserkal founder stated, ‘The generosity of people does not surprise me, but it continues to humble me. Through the Alserkal pay it forward programme, the Alserkal community has risen to the challenge of supporting each other through difficult times, and demonstrated true strength and resilience.’

Good job, Alserkal Avenue!

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Images: Alserkal Avenue