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For 20 Years, This Expat Has Been Giving Free Iftar to Workers

DUBAI – Over the past two decades, Indian expat Sathyapalan P. has been handing out thousands of free iftar meals to workers, reflecting the true spirit of Ramadan as a month of giving.

“Everyone has to sacrifice something to help someone else,” Sathyapalan told Khaleej TImes.

“My message is to love all and serve all, without any limitations.”

Sathyapalan, who moved to the UAE from Kerala 27 years ago, has been distributing home-cooked meals to thousands of workers every month for almost 20 years.

The 59-year-old is part of the Sathya Sai International Organization, which includes 250 families who cook home-made meals and distribute them across the UAE.

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With an average distribution of 1,400-1,800 meals every month, a whopping amount of 20,000-24,000 meals are handed out annually by the team.

Sathyapalan’s sense of giving and humanity was recognized last week when he was awarded by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance.

“Seeing the smiles on workers’ faces is what made me continue doing this for almost two decades,” he said.

“As soon as I heard about this organization, I wanted to be associated with it, because it’s an inspiring and selfless service; it’s all about sharing.”

Not Only Ramadan

The charitable efforts are not limited to Ramadan. Since the beginning of this Summer, Sathyapalan and his team have been distributing fresh drinks to workers spotted working on the roads and job sites.

“Although giving out cold drinks may seem like a small gesture, for the worker, it means a lot,” he said.

“When they get the cold water they feel so happy, you can just see it. Once you do this and see their happiness and appreciation, you will be encouraged to continue.”

“A lot of the workers are here without their families and without home-cooked meals. So we need to do what we can to make them feel closer to home.”

Sathyapalan has an advice to families, who often cook enormous feasts during Ramadan

“If there are large quantities of food remaining from an Iftar, it should be distributed and shared with others. It is our responsibility to serve others; we have to do what is within our capacity.”

“We want to share happiness, peace and co-exist with all. My main message is: See only good in people, and do only good for people.”