07 October, 2007

Dubai does not Care

I'm so mad that I have to let off some steam here. The reason is this. So my school handed out these little booklets of vouchers that we have to sell for the Dubai Cares charity drive ( [link] ). Each voucher costs Dhs. 20. A bit much, but an amount a lot of people can do just fine without. My friend and I decided to go door to door and sell them.

I thought we could sell quite a few this way. Here are a few of the responses we got:

1. "This really isn't a good time."

2. "My son/daughter has one of those booklets." So you won't buy a voucher from us, but you expect people to buy one from your kid?

3. One guy opened his door a fraction of an inch and all we could see was an eye and his dog's nose. Before we could finish what we wanted to say, he just closed the door in our faces, at the risk of slicing his dog's nose off.

4. "I'm new to this area, so please, ok, hmm?" That isn't even a sentence! And how is that a valid reason?!

5. "No thank you."

6. "No."

The only people who bought vouchers from us were friends of my mother. And there was one other nice man as well who said he had bought a few the previous day, but didn't mind buying one more. After the door-to-door session we ended up with 4 sold vouchers between ourselves.

After this we went to a mall, thinking we'd be more successful there. We started asking random people. It wasn't as easy as we thought it would be, but we got used to it after a while. Here are some more responses:

1. "Oh, I can't hear you. I've got my music on." She keeps walking on after this, Starbucks coffee in one hand, and the other hand not bothering to yank out the earphones. I wish I had done it for her. "Yes, so what do you need?" We went through our routine sentence. "No, not interested, sorry." Aargh! If she can spend 20 bucks on coffee, why can't she do the same for charity?

2. "Sorry, maybe next time." Did they think we were regular fixtures in the mall?

3. "I can't understand what you're saying." I just think the words 'Dhs. 20' rang warning bells in their heads.

4. "Maybe next time."

5. "Can you wait till our manager comes back?"

6. "Maybe next time."

7. "My dear, I am looking for someone to donate some money to me." This came from a girl who was probably my age.

8. Two separate couples didn't turn back and just walked ahead when we tried to get their attention. We said "Excuse me" at least four times!

I don't remember the others, these are a few of the choicest examples. It was so infuriating how all these people, toting their Charles and Keith bags, were so stingy with their money when it came to donating just a tiny fraction of what they paid for those shoes, or bags, or whatever it is Mr. Charles and Mr. Keith sell, to uneducated, homeless little children! At the end we sold another 4 vouchers between ourselves.

Another thing. I think it's just hypocritical of schools to make their kids sell these vouchers when they themselves pay a pittance to the teachers they employ. Doesn't charity start at home?

However, I will say this. The people who did donate to the cause were extremely nice about it. One of them asked us if his name would appear in big letters on a donors list. He was joking, of course.

It is extremely saddening to think that people think twice before donating a small amount of money to a very worthy cause.


dnilo said...

Sigh. I also have a booklet for Dubai Cares which was given to us from our school. I like the charitable work.. but going after other people who'll most likely make the best use of their legs once you flash the vouchers that cost 20 dhs each is kinda disheartening. It's a good way for a reality check in Dubai though.

I hope I can finish the whole booklet by this week!! :D

Anonymous said...

People can say what they like about Americans but every school year kids get charitable work like this to do, and Americans are often very given. It is sad that people will not give a moment to even think about it, much less help.

samuraisam said...

"a very worthy cause."

In your opinion.

Do you have any idea about the trillions of dirhams that have been donated globably to eradicate poverty? And for what? I haven't seen much of a difference. All I've seen is more politicians with private jets trotting around the world so they can get even more money for their gold plated faucets. The fact that the 'dubai cares' campaign resorts to spamming every UAE-mobile isn't going to win it many fans either, specifically when they send messages on the very break of iftar (I received one message at 6:20 PM)

Expecting UAE residents to donate money when literally half the population lives below the poverty line is ridiculous.

I'm sure if Dubai really did care they would've cleared up their human rights situation several years ago.

Even if I did actually have the money to give I wouldn't give it students that are being whored off by their shitty money-grabbing piece of crap schools as some sort of a PR stunt.

Anonymous said...

But it's specifically targeting education

Ahab said...

Well said SamuraiSam. I'd rather give the 20 dirhams or so to the needy personally rather than donate it to some charity and not knowing who it'll help and/or where the money really is going. at least that way i'll know the money's really helping someone.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

I find myself reluctantly agreeing with Sam, don't blame people when they don't reciprocate well to such charity drives,and don't be surprised that so many of those whom you have accused of apathy are great donors in their private life..
There is a TV program that shows on Sharjah TV (forgot its name) where the host would present a medical condition for an impoverished person which requires an urgent surgery, and because the person in question doesn't have the money, people would be urge to donate, and at every time I watched this show, there would be a benefactor calling from Dubai donating at least 50000 DH, and he will always refuse to be named on air...You have to understand that in some religious scriptures, charities are best rewarded when done anonymously, so don't blame people when they dont feel riled by your knocking at their door or stopping them in the mall....

Anonymous said...

A worthy cause but doing it door to door is just going to get you frustrated. We have all kinds of people coming to our door regularly asking for all kinds of stuff. Some are obviously frauds and they destroy for the authentic one. I would like to think I'm a generous person but I would never give/buy anything from someone coming to my home like that, sorry, that's just how it is.

Paraglider said...

{students that are being whored off by their shitty money-grabbing piece of crap schools}

I find that a rather shameful way to reply to a sincere student who is trying to do the right thing.

Kyle said...

I'd be jittery too if I were accosted by anyone to contribute 20 Dhs to this Dubai Cares gig, which doesn't amount to jack, in my opinion!

Such a shame, they're using kids to chip in loose change from the general population.

My wife and I sponsor a kid from Guatemala for 18 bucks ($) a month. I'll tell you what those 18 bucks mean to that child; education, clothes, toys and a hope for the future. In return we get a monthly letter in Spanish written by that child, beautiful crayon abstracts and countless 'Amor' and 'Muchas Gracias'. It doesn't matter if it's virtual for now but it'll matter a lot when we eventually fly down to Guatemala next Easter.

Well, having said all this, Wandering Minstrel, you may be assured that we'd have 20 Dhs ready for you, should our paths cross at any mall!

Good luck!

Nature Strikes Back said...

I felt sorry for the kids running around at the weekend clutching their Dubai Cares booklets and looking increasingly frustrated. They started going door to door and the first few were fine but then I kept very quiet and pretended to be out! Once the door to door method was exhausted the kids moved out onto the street and I saw several sharp exchanges between kids as the intense compettion for pedestrians hotted up!

nzm said...

Wandering Minstrel: it's not just a Dubai phenomenon that you're experiencing - it's a worldwide trend. In past days, it was a rare occasion when we were approached by fundraisers, but nowadays they are everywhere - even phoning at home to ask us to donate, and as Sam says, spamming our phones too. It's little wonder that people are now just sick of it. It's also too hard to distinguish the genuine charity drives from the scams, so it's just easier to say no to all.

Please don't take it personally!


I find it amazing that a charity org like Dubai Cares which has already raised so much money is resorting to using school kids to raise further revenues.

They would do better to divert the 200 million dirhams earned by Salik in the first 100 days of its operation, and be done with it!

Like Sam, I too wonder where all the millions of dollars go, that is given to charities each year. It seems to make bugger-all difference to the scale of poverty, disease and whatever else they raise money for.

It's going to be interesting to see what difference all the millions of dirhams given to Dubai Cares will make - and where it will be spent.

fellow atheist said...

I don't believe in charity. Help yourself.. or as today's rappers say, "Get your own".

So, I've had the school kids come up and ask me to buy into those vouchers. I simply say, "Not interested, thank you."

What now? You want me to care? I do. I sure as hell don't care to help those who don't want to be helped. Giving people money doesn't fix anything. I come from one of those places that needs help. I promise you, no amount of money is going to change their self-destructive attitudes.

Example: UAE. They have all the money in the world. We can all see how great their 'education' is. Now THEY want to educate the world? Puhlleease!

judy the warbaby said...

so true.

nick said...

Dubai cares

....for its own image in the world.

My son got these checquebooks from his school.
I sent it back with a letter to the principal suggesting they reduce the horrendous school fees to make education of my children more affordable. That would do just nicely.

Anonymous said...

If Dubai does not care for its residents who earn less than 15000 a month, why should those residents care for falsely depicting Dubai to be a place which cares for all?

Anonymous said...

If the motive of schools is to teach children to be compassionate - then trying to sell vouchers is definitely not the way.

Also, I would never give money to charity. I would rather try and help people who need help by giving them a job or teaching them something that could be a useful skill.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sam.

a.) There are all kinds of con-artists here...did they carry any ID? How do people know the money gets to the right place.

b) Some of these people might be giving there money elsewhere already. Why should you automatically assume that people who turn you down are greedy snobs? Granted, some are. But I regularly turn down door-to-door charity collectors but I give over 10% of my income to TRUSTED charities. Dubai can't build a 'culture' of giving and charity overnight when it already has a reputation of corruption and greed.

c) Are you even allowed to collect from person to person in the malls? Sounds offensive to me. So now everyone will start doing that kind of thing. I'll stop going to the mall if I'm accosted by beggars every time I go.

d) Knock-off the self-righteous anger. How much have you given to the campaign? How much did you give last year? Maybe you should just buy all the booklets yourself. Do you know where the money went when you gave? Is there any accountability to the organizations?

e.) will the educational funds that Dubai Cares offers to the world be given to organizations that have religious goals as well? I want to know what messages are being preached along with the "a-b-c's" and "1-2-3's".

Michelle Alison-Muhammed said...

Maybe you would of had a better chance in Abu Dhabi. According to this CNN report, Abu Dhabi is the worlds richest city.


Anonymous said...

"I want to know what messages are being preached along with the "a-b-c's" and "1-2-3's".
hahaha, so what? doen't all charities have an agenda? you would be stupid to think all the rest of the charity groups are neutral and want the best for human kind.
Get a life will you and stop being so negative about everything.

Curious said...

I approached a friend who works for one of the newspapers here and seems the media is too scared to touch this issue... since it's SHK Mo's initiative and anything said against the initiative is everything said against Shk MO!

As much as it is a cause worthy initiative.. the coupons selling tactic is really atrocious way to donate money - even if that really is that idea behind it!!

And it looks this is the only place we get to rant abt this! And no one's gonna give us any real answer!

Anonymous said...

Most people here need help themselves don't you feel the inflation and the tightness of living!!!!! Take money from the rich leave people working here to feed and secure the future of their kids.

Anonymous said...

you are right WM, charity should begin at home, and quitely if possible. This is more of a publicity stunt. And making the children do it is sad indeed. Times are difficult these days, various reasons, inflation, devaluation of the $, increasing rent, and no corresponding increase in incomes. Neither is it easy to change jobs. And people who can actually afford to contribute have attitude like you have described.
Hope this is the last of such campaigns!

Anonymous said...

"hahaha, so what? doen't all charities have an agenda? you would be stupid to think all the rest of the charity groups are neutral and want the best for human kind.
Get a life will you and stop being so negative about everything."

I have a great life. And I'm not negative about a lot of things. And I do not want neutral charities to give to. I want to know what the message is. There's nothing wrong with that. You seem a little negative yourself. As the post above says, even the media isn't scrutinizing this. Fear is the reason. Oops. I guess I slipped into 'negativity' again :)

Anonymous said...

nick by sending that letter to the principal you just became a fcuking


i*maginate said...

Anon, there are about 24 comments on here, from which I might find "dickier" responses than nick's, though he has not expressed anything out-of-the-ordinary in comparison.

Before accusing anyone of being a "DICK" please explain why you think so, as this seems to be a list of opinions with reasonable logic, as opposed to yours, which is a baseless insult.

Philanthropist said...

Charity is money donated willingly to a cause one believes in, not demanded for a cause no one believes in.
Enough with all the humanitarian facades, you want money, you want recognition, you want world fame, you want to be the best.

Emirati said...

I will buy 5 of your coupons. Please email me at abudhabier@gmail.com

Emirati said...

In the meantime, many of these official charities deliver alot of food and education to people starving all around the world.

I dont give a penny to beggars in teh UAE, because i know that many of them are just swindlers. They only happen to increase in Ramadan, meaning they fly in for the occasion or they have regular jobs and use this to supplement their income.

Its just like the guy who wrote this thread said. Youd only prefer to buy yourself the latest vertu mobile, and youre just making up a bunch of excuses.

While I am probably not the only one in this forum to to think that Dubai cares is a spontaneous joke, I am all for donating to charity, since that money is usually spent responsibly by the organizations and not given to governmetns.

The UAE fed that corrupt bastard Arafat for about 30 years. Giving people like him money is what makes charity useless.

ali900 said...

Your complaining from one view - ID agree and say Dubai has done much for the poor and needy...do I need to go on about what Zayed has done for a LOT of people?

Donate what you can - not everyone is self centered and doesnt care...SOME PEOPLE DO!

Nature Strikes Back said...

“Our commitment comes from the vital role this initiative plays in positioning Dubai as a city with a soul.”

Executive Chairman of Tatweer, confirming the dismaying perception that anything can be bought for 6 million Dirhams!

nameless, faceless said...

Minstrel: You have coupons to sell. You believe its a worthy cause. Good.

Why slag off the people who refuse to buy from you? You think the 20 dh you're asking will be the only charity they will be contributing to? Are you comparing them to yourself, by any chance?

Do you realise that many of those with the C&K bags could possibly already be supporting several charities, on a regular basis, every month? Without the need for any coupons? I know people who have committed over 50% (yes, 50%) of their salaries. But they do it quietly. And when people like you come up to them in the Mall, they say "Sorry, not now." Or whatever comes to their lips at that time. Unfortunately they won't stand and give you the whole story of how many charities they support.

So keep up the good work, but stop judging people. You could be waaaaaay off the mark.

Avaya said...

Maybe Dubai wants to end up in the Guinness World record book by being the city that raised most cash for 'charity' ? we all know they're trying to beat every "tallest" "biggest" record in there right now, why not charity too...

Harsha said...

The saddest part is, one of the schools in Dubai, haved forced a booklet in every studnets hand. The teachers have thretened the students to give them lower grades if all the coupons werent sold. Each student HAS TO sell the entire booklet. I myself have come across little boys on the streets begging ppl to donate.

What kind of a charity is conducted in such a manner?

Anonymous said...

How come the fat cats (Etisalat / Dewa / Dxb Police etc...) didn't pay a dime ?

nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nick said...

I don't want some fucking Dubai charity pissing contest with schools leveraging peer pressure on my five year old boy.
I give where I can and to those who really care.
You want to make a real difference other than inflating the Sheikh's and Sunni Varkey's egos?

Then there you go:

The Dhaka project

SOS childrens villages


Kyle said...

In continuation to Nick's links, this is where we found a Guatemalan Angel.

28 Bucks a month makes a big difference in a child's life!

Nick, thanks Bro!

Anonymous said...

I've got loads of kids come knock on our door trying to sell tickets. we've bought 5 tickets already but the kids keep coming.... it's hard to say NO to the 5-6 year olds. its just a vicious cycle here. the parents are pressured by their kids. Kids by the class. Class teachers by their superior's in school. the school by the management n it just goes round n round. I write to one of the newspapers regarding this but obviously they dint publish it coz they wouldn't dare play any games with the rulers.

samuraisam said...

"it's hard to say NO to the 5-6 year olds"


Do I even need to say anything about that? Expecting 5-6 year olds to roam around the city by themselves (or even their own neighbourhood or building) is disgusting.

nick said...


I agree. My parents fostered two boys through 'SOS childrens villages'.
Fostering or 'sponsoring' some child's education is just the most direct and efficient way of helping.

Buying a one off meal or one month's school fee for some kid somewhere sometime as 'Dubai Cares' plans to do doesn't do anything.

Anonymous said...

This post has certainly brought to light a lot of things about this campaign.
It is surely all for PR. The world will certainly see through the facade.
Good work WM.

Anonymous said...

if dubai cares so much instead of printing big envelops to give 1 or 2 vouchers they cud save on the printing and donate the money to charity

Avaya said...

Why not contact a newsagency that isn't local and let them know what's really going on with this Dubai Cares programme? Perhaps CNN, BBC, AP, Reuters and so on will raise a ruckus if not in UAE, certainly all around the world and it'll help people see through the facade that Dubai's trying to put up.

If Varkey had donated a part of the fees paid to the GEMS schools by adults, that would've been much better than what's going on now.

Forcing children, 5 - 6 year olds and so on, to roam around is in no way charity. Who knows how many sickos are out there? Is Dubai, Varkey and co waiting for a kid/kids to 'disappear' or get physically abused by an adult or some neighborhood teens? as if we don't have enough people sexually abusing little children here then claiming it was an accident and the pants/towel/skirt/etc just fell off when they passed by the kid. is this when this nonsense will stop? or it won't stop at all?

Anonymous said...

It would have been a wonderful gesture if a percentage of the money collected from parking charges/fines, road toll collection were given to the charity. Too farfetched?

Bridget Jones said...

I think charity is something private, what the right hand gives, the left should not know..:)

colon lover said...

i use both hands to clean my ass. that means they know too much.

tha playa said...

my parentz did buy one frm a kid in my building...the first one to come
the avalanche strted just aftr dat

and i live in sharjah!

so u can guess
my dad is underpaid nd i am mostly broke

i simply DO NOT have 20 bux!

overpriced nd dun even get me started about da agenda
and the recognition of da charity
goes to an emirate..and a state
that simply does not care about any1
simple as that
luk at all the labourers working for peanuts on alll the fancy buildings

dey dun get rights

as for dat
neither do we

u just need to get close to the system here to undrstand how fked it is

Anonymous said...

@ tha playa

U r rite man
the syst stinks!

Anonymous said...

i think its ridiculous.ppl can spend money on buyin stuff like chopard n bvlgari n dey cant even spend 20 bucks.the salaries paid 2 da teachers r so less n dey r talkin abt charity.1st da shares crashed n now v hav 2 go frm door 2 door beggin ppl jus 2 give us 20 bucks for r skool.v can collect charity in a more dignified manner like concerts.It hepls 2 expose the talents of ppl n v dont hav 2 lisen 2 ppl

Anonymous said...

This is amazing students from one end of the town is going door to door at the other end. I pity the students. I guess they are under pressure to sell the whole book! One boy said that his parents had take five tickets but could not afford any more.

tha playa said...

i DO NOT buy branded items{xcept the occasional shoe}..
and my dad drives a 4 year old corolla

my parents are not stingy or undereducated

victims of the weird system here
where educational qualifications and competence do not rule

but 'waasta' nd skin colour and UK/US degrees do

let dose fkers pay
dun extort me!

Anonymous said...

Well said playa

U hit the nail on the head.

But these folks who make a load of money are not very generous when in comes to their own money. They are usually on company expense.

Anonymous said...

I'm somewhat concerned that kids are expected to cold call strangers and ask for money for a charity they may or may not be willing to give to. Using kids to do the leg work for a state sponsored charity is not good in my mind.

Asking children to ask adults for money stopped a long time ago in the UK when kiddy fiddlers were invented by the mass media. Any head teacher using his or her pupils to sell door-to-door to strangers would lose his or her immediately. Don't they have 'stranger danger' here?

Joint Doctor said...

This week , the American School of Dubai Middle School have been walking, stepping or cycling during their lunch hour to raise money for the Emirates Arthritis Foundation (in their first day alone they raised 20,000 dhs) . We will be doing a photo on World Arthritis Day, Oct 12, at 2.30 pm at the school with all those who walked, presentation of watch to the person who walked the most,

Also, on Sunday, World Arthritis Day, DHCC have all their staff walking. They will all be issued with a pedometer.

Many people in Dubai do care. Come show you care and walk for arthritis patients this week at Dubai Festival city, Dubai bone and Joint Center (phone 04-4231400), EAF office (www.arthritis.ae)

Humeira said...

This week , the American School of Dubai Middle School have been walking, stepping or cycling during their lunch hour to raise money for the Emirates Arthritis Foundation (in their first day alone they raised 20,000 dhs) . We will be doing a photo on World Arthritis Day, Oct 12, at 2.30 pm at the school with all those who walked, presentation of watch to the person who walked the most, and being photographed

Also, on Sunday, World Arthritis Day, DHCC have all their staff walking. They will all be issued with a pedometer.

Dubai does care. Come walk for arthritis: www.arthritis.ae

Abu said...

There are people who care and contribute. But you have people approaching you with requests to donate all the while. You will turn down most or many depending on the amount of money you earn. And the one who you refuse might end up writing the next blog.

Post a Comment

NOTE: By making a post/comment on this blog you agree that you are solely responsible for its content and that you are up to date on the laws of the country you are posting from and that your post/comment abides by them.

To read the rules click here

If you would like to post content on this blog click here