DUBAI, UAE - The world's largest themed mall which caters for more than 21 million visitors a year has had to go virtual for it's annual Ramadan drive to help some of the UAE's under-privileged children.
The 200 Smiles scheme, run by Dubai's Ibn Battuta Mall, the UAE Red Crescent and Rawafed Development and Learning Centre, traditionally involves disadvantaged children aged five to 12 on Ramadan shopping expeditions,adventure activities and Iftar.
This year, children up to the age of 13 are prohibited from entering malls under current government directives, so volunteers who usually accompany them in person held a virtual shopping trip for the youngsters, who chose their clothes from RedTag.
"Ramadan is a time for giving, and this annual campaign has grown year-on-year since it started in 2016. But the circumstances are very different this time, so we needed to get creative. Using live video chat to communicate with their personal shopper, youngsters could still see and choose their new clothes and shoes, which are being delivered directly to their homes over Eid. The experience may be a virtual one, but the difference it will make to these children will be very real," Gail Sangster, Director of Assets at Nakheel Malls said Sunday.
Shadia Al Jabri, Director of Rawafed Centre, added: "Despite these trying circumstances, the spirit of generosity and giving has continued and, through online solutions, we have managed to maintain this beautiful tradition of spreading joy among the children."
The annual event has helped more than 1,000 children since its launch.