Over 50 Alserkal Avenue organisations joined forces through the Alserkal Pay It Forward Programme to support each other – and the wider Dubai community – in the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The community collaboration saw the businesses generate AED 2 million in kind in just two months. Launched by Alserkal Founder Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal and the Alserkal family in April 2020, the Programme invited community members to apply for a subsidy for their lease commitment for three months – in return for ‘paying it forward ’to their neighbours. The Programme was created to enable organisations to navigate a difficult economic landscape.
“The power of community is unparalleled,” says Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal, reflecting on the programme thus far. “The generosity of people does not surprise me, but it continues to humble me. Through the Alserkal Pay It Forward Programme, the Alserkal community has risen to the challenge of supporting each other through difficult times, and demonstrated true strength and resilience. Community has always been the bedrock of our organisation, and we will always keep this essential value at the heart of everything we do.”
Culinary concept INKED, founded by Patrick and Kenza Jarjour, turned
their space into a community kitchen, cooking and delivering 22,290 meals to frontline health workers and vulnerable communities in collaboration with Dubai Health Authority, and the UAE Food Bank.
“The past three months have led us towards an unexpected, rewarding, and fulfilling journey through our community kitchen initiative,” says Patrick and Kenza Jarjour. “With the help of Alserkal Avenue, our artist community, and some of Dubai’s incredible chefs and suppliers, we were able to help and feed so many people in need in Dubai, and we couldn’t think of a better way to use our space and skills during these challenging times.”
Chef Izu Ani was one of several celebrity chefs to take part in the INKED community kitchen initiative. Hundreds of people donated to the INKED initiative, and concepts in Alserkal Avenue also rallied to raise funds to purchase the AED 25 meals, raising AED 162,000 in total: Green Art Gallery, Lawrie Shabibi, eL Seed Studio, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Ayyam Gallery, Leila Heller Gallery, KAVE, Wisdom Warehouse, The Good Life, The Flip Side, and Ame all contributed 6,488 meals to the scheme through their sales.