On the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a happiness van named after him started doing the rounds at labour accommodations handing out surprise gifts to workers.
Dar Al Ber Society launched the ‘Zayed Happiness Van’ to mark the ‘Year of Zayed,’ coinciding with the 100th birth anniversary of Shaikh Zayed, who had envisioned a happy and prosperous UAE.
Sporting the tagline ‘Because everyone deserves to be happy,’ the van made its first stop at a workers’ accommodation in Al Quoz on a Sunday.
As curious workers lined up at temporary tents, they were given happiness stickers to wear on their shirts. Hundreds of workers queued up as they saw volunteers and officials of the charitable society unloading and rearranging the goody bags for distribution.
“We wanted to surprise people and see the happiness on their faces,” said Juhi Yasmeen Khan, charity initiative expert at Dar Al Ber Society.
They were indeed so surprised to see what we are doing. We have given them ice cream, cookies, biryani, fruits, juices, laban, water, 20-yard fabric and shoes. It is a complete treat for them. They are very happy as they were not expecting it, added Juhi.
A quiz and a special lucky draw saw three workers winning dining vouchers and one winning an air ticket from Air Arabia to go home.
Lional Terence, a camp boss, was excited to win the return ticket. “Usually my company gives me ticket. And I go home for Christmas every year. But still this is a big gift. I have never won anything like this here,” he said.
While most workers were present in the accommodation as they work night shifts and were only overjoyed to receive the gifts, only some were aware of the exact reason behind it.
Asant Nayak, a building maintenance worker from India, said he wasn’t aware why the gifts were distributed, though he was very happy to see someone trying to make poor people happy.
However, Naveen Marampally, an electrician from India, said: “I know it is because of Shaikh Zayed’s birthday. We have another celebration happening at our worksite tonight.”
Having come to the UAE in 2011, Mohammad Hanif, a cleaner from Bangladesh, said he had only heard about Shaikh Zayed.
“I know he was a great leader of the UAE who founded the country. I’m seeing someone giving gifts in his name for the first thing.”
Abdullah Ali Bin Zayed Al Falasi, CEO of Dar Al Ber Society, said the Zayed Happiness Van is meant to serve as a tribute to the spirit and vision of the great leader.
“And we hope that our humble effort will add happiness in the lives of the people in UAE,” he added.
Hesham Al Zahrani, deputy director, Dar Al Ber Society, said the initiative also took place close to the International Workers’ Day, which fell on May 1, and served the purpose of making workers who are away from their homes and families happy.
Every week, the ‘Zayed Happiness Van’ plans to visit various workers’ accommodations in industrial areas and elsewhere across the country and distribute meals and gifts to workers.