More than 75,000 Bohra community members gathered in Dubai for the 10-day congregations, with around 50,000 flying down from abroad.
This story was reported by Khaleej Times on July 26, 2023.
Reflecting a true spirit of community service, Dawoodi Bohra volunteers came forward in thousands to prepare and serve more than 150,000 meals to community members every day in Dubai during the Ashara Mubaraka congregations.
More than 75,000 Bohra community members gathered in Dubai for the 10-day Ashara Mubaraka congregations, with around 50,000 of them flying down from abroad.
Thousands of Bohra volunteers – young and old, men and women – were lending a hand to serve the attendees 150,000 meals for both lunch and dinner every day during the 10-day congregations across various centres in the UAE.
The Dawoodi Bohra community organises Ashara Mubaraka congregations annually in the first 10 days of the new Islamic year. Dubai has been chosen to hold congregations this year.
How food is prepared and served
Catering to the diverse tastes of attendees, the menus at the centres were carefully curated, showcasing the rich and diverse flavours of the UAE’s cuisine. Local and international nutritionists were consulted to ensure that the meals are not only delicious but also nutritious.
“The food served here was a true reflection of the UAE’s cultural diversity, and it’s heartening to see the community’s dedication to sustainability. The chefs and cooks were paying attention to every minute detail,” said Sakina Shakir, who has flown from Bangalore, India, to attend congregations.
Mosleh Ismail, executive chef at Dubai World Trade Centre, who is leading the curation of menus to serve over 27,000 attendees in DWTC, said the menus are meticulously planned, keeping in mind the cultural and culinary preferences of both the UAE and global Dawoodi Bohra community.
“We embraced locally-sourced produce like hydroponic veggies, olives, dates, and the exquisite Hatta farm honey; seamlessly infusing these ingredients into our dishes. It’s a delightful culinary journey that celebrates the rich flavours of the region,” he said.
The Bohra community followed its tradition of eating food in a ‘thaal’ – a large round plate – around which members sit in groups of eight and share meals to foster bonding among members and eliminate chances of food waste.
Zero food wastage policy
An epitome of perfect commitment towards sustainability, the Dawoodi Bohra community in the UAE adopted a Zero Food Wastage approach at its Mawaids (dining centres) during Ashara Mubaraka congregations.
Also, the ‘Dana Committee’ was formed which encourages and oversees that no food goes to waste in line with the UAE’s policy to mark 2023 as the “Year of Sustainability”.
“We carefully manage portion sizes, encouraging attendees to take only what they need. Any surplus food is promptly distributed to those in need, promoting a spirit of giving and compassion,” said Ibrahim Zoher, a member of the local Dana Committee.
The Ashara Mubaraka congregations in the UAE also aligned with the UAE’s waste-to-energy initiative, in which organic waste collected during meals is converted into energy.