Feed A Labour-Practice The Art Of Giving This Ramadan

“I hope to do this till my last breath.”

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Inder Bhagnani, a 31-year-old real estate entrepreneur living in Dubai, initiated Feed A Labour as a means to help and honor the workers who work relentlessly to build the city. The inspiring charity initiative, now in its 204th week, has helped thousands of labourers across Dubai and has grown exponentially with individual volunteers and families joining in every Saturday at selected construction sites. Bhagnani’s actions made way for a platform that serves as an inspiration to people living in the region, regardless of cast and creed. People participate by distributing food or utility items to hundreds of labourers working in Dubai. This resonates with the bountiful spirit of Ramadan as people around the world focus on charity and helping the less privileged. Feed A Labour is a reminder and a guide for those looking for different ways to do charity this year.

We spoke to Bhagnani in an exclusive interview about his life and inspiration for Feed A Labour.

“I was born in Mumbai. My father shifted his textile business to Dubai in 1995 and since then this is my home. By profession I am a property consultant and own a company called RK Real Estate bearing the initials of my parents and grandparents.”

Even with the impressive success that follows him around, a humble beginning and upbringing keep Bhagnani grounded and in check. The only thing he brags about during the interview is his family. “We didn’t start off as rich, my father worked his way up. He built the foundation for us and I was raised the same way. We were taught to work and earn for ourselves, without any help or discounts whatsoever. I believe this is exactly why I am where I am today,” Bhagnani added. “We were taught to never value money over family and to help as much as we can,” he told Saudi Gazette.

Feed A Labour came to him naturally one day when he sat down at a small cafeteria to eat. “I don’t have an ego issue and don’t mind where I am seen eating or hanging out. So one day I was sitting in a cafeteria where labourers come to eat and I saw one man walk away from the counter because couldn’t buy a small meal. For me it was nothing so I bought it and it made him so happy. I went regularly and just kept that going. Soon I saw more people who I could do the same for and honestly that’s how it began. Now we go to various construction sites and can help hundreds at a time,” he added heartily.

“I believe that either you take a step and move forward or there will be a day one will inspire you to follow them. This is exactly what my grandmother and my parents did. Feeding the less fortunate and giving back to the society is what I have seen since I was a child, and it was their kindness that led me here,” he said. Find out the full story below.

SG: Tell us the story that triggered it and what inspires you to keep going?

IB: My grandmother and my family are my biggest inspiration to start this initiative, which was back in 2014. I was sitting in a cafe having a meal, when I noticed a labourer walk in to buy himself a sandwich. The worker however, cancelled his order and decided to opt for a cup of tea instead. I noticed this and decided to question why the man chose to buy a cup of tea instead of a sandwich when he clearly had the money. The worker’s reply was simply: “I had to chose between one sandwich or 4 cups of tea for the next 4 days with AED 4. The choice was simple”. At this point I decided to pay for his meal and depart. The next day however, the same situation occurred. I decided to pay again. The next few weeks, lead to friends of the labourer and this eventually expanded into what we are now.

SG: Have you faced any challenges and what do you hope to achieve?

IB: By the grace of God, till date there has not been a single day where I’ve faced any sort of difficulty, everyone has been very supportive.

Where there is a will, there is a way and I’ve always believed that if you do anything with true intentions, God will open doors automatically.

I wish I could do a lot of things, I am sure and have faith in God that it will happen one day and my dream is to take this to an international level and involve as many people as possible. Secondly, my target for this year is to involve more contributors or volunteers to cover an area close to their house and spread across the movement across the UAE.

SG: What’s the best part?

IB: Every second of it. Bringing joy and smiles to over 2,000 happy faces is what I start my week with, and nothing beats that.

SG: How can people get involved?

IB: Well first of all, Feed A Labour is not about collecting money. We respect UAE’s laws and have a strict no cash policy. People buy the goods themselves, load it up and come to distribute it at the site. We’ve had kids as young as 4 years of age celebrate their birthday by giving to the less fortunate, as well as someone 80-years-old be a part of this. It gives me immense happiness to see people of different casts, religions, ages and genders joining in.

SG: You’re an inspiration to youth and those older than you - what’s your message to the people reading this right now?

IB: I’d like to narrate a story for the youth. Once a person asked: ‘Sir, your work for giving to the less fortunate is extremely important, but don’t you think it is just a drop in the ocean?’ And I replied, ‘My work is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean will be less without that drop’. Take that step and see your life changing.

To the older generation, I’d like to say that it is never too late to start anything, your actions are strongly followed by the younger generation and this can make a difference. Like Mother Teresa once said: “A life not lived for others is not a life.”

SG: What are the changes you’d like to see in society when it comes to social reform and well-being?

IB: I hope to see that people realize that labourers who are not as fortunate as us also deserve respect and to be treated like any other human being. By doing so one can only gain more respect and blessings. People have asked me why I help them but that is the only way I know how to thank them and appreciate their hard work for building this luxurious city.

Follow their journey on instagram @feedalabour


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