society

Turbaned riders donate food to workers in UAE camps

Riders of Singh’s Motorcycle Club UAE supply raw food items to 1,000 workers every last Friday of the month

16:35 December 29, 2017
Singh’s Motorcycle Club UAE members distributing food bags

Dubai: The vroom of luxury motorcycles is not a sound one would associate with Dubai’s interior alleys dotted with labour accommodation units.

But bylanes in Dubai and other emirates, where thousands of workers live, have been resonating with this sound on the last Friday of the past several months this year.

That happens when the convoy of luxury motorbikes from the Singh’s Motorcycle Club UAE visits the labour accommodation clusters to donate raw food supplies to the workers.

The club members are motorcycle-riding enthusiasts from the Sikh community in the UAE and are known as “turbinator riders” since they wear turbans. They began the charity drive to deliver food supplies to workers in labour accommodations in February as part of the Year of Giving in the UAE.

“We have combined charity and our hobby together…and brotherhood as well,” said Raja Singh, a senior member of the club.

Considering the fact that the labourers may have challenges in meeting their expenses before they get their salaries by the end of the month, he said the day of donation was chosen as the last Friday of every month.

In every camp they visit, the club members donate 1,000 bags containing raw food items including grains, pulses, sugar etc. If the workers are less in number in the camp they visit, labourers from adjacent accommodations are also served.

Gurnam Singh, another senior member, said the charity drive of the club is an extension of the community service initiatives of the Gurunanak Darbar Gurdwara in Dubai.

“It is a sort of a seva [community service] which we have started along with the gurdwara,” he said.

The only Sikh temple in the country, the gurdwara in Jebel Ali serves free meals three times a day to all visitors irrespective of their background. It hosts inter-faith iftars during Ramadan and also conducts blanket donation drive for workers among other charity initiatives.

Instilling values

The riders have got volunteers from among their family members also, joining them to distribute the food packets.

“We want to instill the value of giving back in our young generation also. It is a way of getting connected to the youth and making them understand the values held high by the Sikh community also,” said Gurnam Singh.

The members of the club said they are thankful to the UAE and its leaders for the tolerance and freedom they are enjoying in this country.

“We are thankful that we are made part of various community events in the UAE. We take part in parades for National Day, National Sports Day and Pink Caravan drive also.”

They are also happy that they now have non-Sikh friends volunteering for the cause. Rider Farhad Hormazdi is one of them.

“When I came to know about this charity initiative through the club, I wanted to be a part of it. It is a nice experience. I am very happy to work with my Sikh brothers. They are getting all the people from all the communities connected,” said Hormazdi.

Charanjeet Singh, a carpenter from Punjab who was at a labour camp in Al Quoz chosen for food donation, said he was proud to see the charity work by his community members in the UAE. “I have only seen our gurdwara providing free meals. Seeing these brothers doing this at labour camps makes me feel very happy and proud. We are only two Sikh people in this labour accommodation,” said the 22-year-old.

Kasaiah Kothapally, a 61-year-old labourer, who has completed 30 years in the same company, said this was the first time he saw this kind of uncooked food donation in his labour accommodation.

“Some people had given us biryani a few times during Ramadan and Eid. This is the first time I am getting raw materials for cooking. This is good for us as we cook our food here,” he said happily.

Female workers are also among the 11,000 workers who have benefitted from the Year of Giving charity drive by the Sikh riders, the last leg of which was held on Friday.