Complex Made Simple

UAE expat kids wish for “world peace”

CSR initiative shows that even 8-year-olds watch the news, and that they care about what is happening all over the world

In the spirit of the season of giving, Al Ahli Holding Group’s Little Manila launched a drive that would grant children’s wishes. All they ever wanted, though, are “world peace” and a “safe place for all the other kids”.

Hundreds of letters scribbled with all sorts of wishes filled the drop box at Little Manila, the food and cultural hub in Muraqqabat. Ready to give away the latest toys and kiddie gadgets for the initiative, Al Ahli Holding Group International Business Development Head Parvez Naqvi was surprised when he came across a number of letters indicating that what they wanted was for the world to be a better place for everyone.

“It is easy for us to assume that kids these days care about nothing else but smart devices and their games. But the results of this initiative tell us that there are so much more going on in their minds,” Naqvi said, as he picked two from the touching letters and gave gifts to the kids who wrote them.

“We were so touched that we immediately called the parents,” he added. “When you learn that third-graders and fourth-graders are well aware of current events and that they care for those people affected, you know that the future of the world looks bright.”

One letter was from third-grader Rinoah Alcazar who wrote: “My name is Rinoah and I am eight years old. All I want is world peace and protection and safety for all kids.”

Another letter carried the same message of hope as 8-year-old Dionne Reese Dela Pena wrote, “Peace and love all over the world. No war!”

The kids’ love of reading and exposure to current events are the primary factors that have shaped their views, their parents say.

“I have been seeing in the news that war is going on in other parts of the world. The kids are becoming victims and they are innocent. They don’t know why there is war,” Rinoah said when she came to Little Manila to claim her gift.

The Make-A-Wish initiative was part of Little Manila’s celebration of the yuletide season, an occasion that Filipino expats hold dear.

In line with its thrust to bring Filipinos closer to home and its character as a cultural hub, Little Manila makes it a point to recreate the best and most special traditions for the community.

“We value the Filipino culture as much as we value their food and the people,” Naqvi said.

In this sense, Little Manila proves to be so much more than a dining treat with all the food brands flown into the country straight from the Philippines, it also serves as a venue for people of other nationalities to know more about the vibrant culture of the Filipinos.

Since opening on September 14, Little Manila continues to win the hearts of Filipino patrons and other curious expats who want to sample the rich culinary heritage of the Philippines from Spanish, American, Japanese and Chinese influences.

“Little Manila is designed to give Filipinos a place where they can unwind and comfortably feel at home with its authentic Filipino food choices and a back-draft that will remind them of the Philippines,” Naqvi said.

“Little Manila is all about Filipinos and a real proof of their increasing influence in the growing expat community in the UAE,” he added.

Little Manila offers an array of food choices from multiple Filipino brands such as Binalot, Jay-J’s, Fruitas Group, Mochi Crème, Zagu, Fiftea along with its in-house brands Kwekie Bites and Breadshop.