With 125,000 followers on TikTok, his video on offering food went viral.
A viral TikTok post has become a saviour for many residents, who have been hit by the repercussions of Covid-19. A few weeks back, Abu Dhabi resident Shafeel Kannur produced a ‘food challenge’ video to reach out to those who have lost their jobs, were on unpaid leave, slapped with pay-cuts or on visit visa and stuck here with no money.
His message was: “None in Abu Dhabi should sleep on an empty stomach, if you are in dire straits, you can contact us.”
With 125,000 followers on TikTok, his video went viral and his phone rang non-stop with people, including those in quarantine, asking for aid.
Today, Shafeel, with the help of many restaurants and well-wishers, offers food packets to more than 300 people. He is supported by his friend Habeeb Mattool, who coordinates the operations.
“I have been working in a private firm for the past 10 years. I was always interested in social work, arts and cultural activities. I started engaging in social activities by managing a few stage shows. I gained a bit of following after using TikTok as a medium for social work,” said Shafeel.
“I can’t describe the situation many are in right now. There are people from India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Egypt to name a few, who call for support.
There are those with low-paid jobs but under quarantine. They can’t survive this phase without food. We reach out to as many as possible,” he added.
On Friday, Shafeel also helped provide accommodation to a man, who is on visit visa, but ran out of money and slept outside mosques and under trees.
“He was on the streets and under severe stress. He never expected such hardship. We have taken care of him.”
He clarified that the assistance he provides is with the help of well-wishers. “Everything is done with the help of Good Samaritans. We are only middlemen. For the past 15 days, I and Mattol are on road from 9am until evening hours. We pick food packs from restaurants and medical kits from Ahalia Hospital, and distribute to 320 people as of Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Mattool urged people to volunteer and help those in distress. “I have been here for 17 years. I haven’t witnessed a crisis like this. Each person has to play his role if humanity is to win this fight,” he said.
Click here to read more news from @khaleejtimes