Ramadan. The time of year that most expats tend to complain about & dread. Long hot summer days with nothing to do, nowhere to eat during daylight hours and most of their friends escaped from Dubai or working.
But, Ramadan isn't all bad. For those who haven't had much exposure to the Muslim culture, Ramadan is about consideration for those less fortunate than yourself, appreciation for what you have and self improvement to be a better person.
One of the more achievable goals during Ramadan is being charitable to others. Of course, this is something that we should try to do at other times as well, but if you've been lost for something to do, Ramadan month can be a good motivator to get started and get ideas.
Back in my home country, myself & my coworkers used to collect the toiletries from our hotel rooms when we stayed in other cities. There was a collection bin in our main office where we could drop these off and the company would then send them on to charities and hospitals to make use of them. Lots of hospitals loved these items, as often they had families of sick & injured patients coming at short notice to stay, often with whatever they happened to be wearing at the time and no luggage. With Australia being as large at it is, some patients were flown in from remote areas for treatment and had nothing with them. So, all of the small shampoos, soaps and toothbrushes came in very handy.
Since arriving in Dubai I have still been collecting the items, but was unsure what to do with them.
I discovered the website Helping Hands UAE; an organisation that helps labourers, abused maids and others in less fortunate circumstances with donations of toiletries, food and other items given by donations from expats and others. I got in touch with them and the lady that organises these things said that they are always in demand of hotel items. They can be transported easily and are a good fill-in measure for people who just need a few items until more permanent arrangements can be made.
So, if any of my fellow cabin crew or foreign, travelling expats are reading this, I urge you to do the same- collect the toiletries and other small "giveaway" items that you don't use and send them on to others who will. Helping Hands also accepts other donations, just contact Elle (via their website) to see what is required. Ramadan especially is a busy time for them and all help is gratefully received!!!
(Please note, I am talking about the items I am expected to use in hotel rooms, such as soaps, shampoos etc. I am not taking anything such as towels, robes or the like as this would be stealing. I also do not use any items from onboard the aircraft in accordance with company policy. My airline has their own arrangements for charity and I support those also where I can. This post was written solely by me as a result of my own experience and Heping Hands UAE did not request me to write such a post. However, I am sure they would be happy to hear from you for anything you may be able to give!)