As part of our support to Ela Jary‘s campaign, we opened the door for a member of their team to tell us more about their initiative, how it started, and how to be part of it.
The month of Ramadan is a Holy month for Muslims and was blessed upon them as part of the five pillars of Islam. It’s a month filled with many benefits; one of which is the reviving of relationships and communicating with our neighbors. This is why we, a group of young Emiratis, came up with the idea of Ela Jary, which translates from Arabic into ‘to my neighbor’. The idea goes back to when our two social groups merged together, “Social bandage” and “1971 Team”. Since then, we have been committed to give back to the community. It is our responsibility as the youth of this country to take care of our community and give back to it.
Ela Jary is a Ramadan socio-culture movement that is designed to revive relationships amongst neighbors, and push them to communicate more. This is done by advocating people to send food or flowers to their neighbors along with printing and filling our greeting cards. You fill the card with your neighbor’s name, a short message, and your name. You then take a picture or a video of your gift along with the card and post it on your social media accounts tagging us on @ela_jary. The purpose of this is to reignite the forgotten tradition of gifting your neighbors during Ramadan specially and across the year generally, and as for the social media element, it is meant to adovocate more and more people to join the campaign.
Another major step in this initiative is to send food to all of our neighbors. Muslims have always been very kind when it comes to sending food because it is a practice that originates from their religion, Islam. Sending food is a kind gesture and it shows a friendly attitude towards your neighbor, which creates a friendlier environment amongst neighbors.
The reason this movement is geared around neighbor-to-neighbor bonding is because we all should know our neighbors. Albeit; sending food to your family and friends across town is still a very generous act, but this initiative is about our neighbors who we are surrounded by, they are the ones we live next to. They are the ones we see every day when we are walking down the street or leave our homes. It’s important to create strong bonds with our neighbors because it will promote peace and social cohesion within communities. Hopefully one day it will become a monthly activity, but right now we are focusing on Ramadan because more people will take part and are willing to do more good during that month.
On the one hand, there are many events that target a particular group of people, be it the youth or elders. On the other hand, our goal is to get everyone to participate. Ela Jary aims to reach out to the community, the youth, the locals and all society’s members, because the act of kindness is part of the Emirati culture and its traditions, the teachings of our religion, and it’s about time we practiced it.
We hope we get enough support from our community and society to continue this every Ramadan. Every year, we aim to create new initiatives to spread awareness and promote the act of kindness. This initiative started in Dubai but is spreading around the UAE and the Gulf quickly. Countries like Kuwait and Bahrain have shown us their support to the initiative through social media.
We hope Ela Jary will help bring people together. From observing people around us, it has become painfully clear that in this day and age people interact with each other much less. We hope we will be able to bring back this type of tradition through social media. We will inspire the youth and showcase people who are doing good. It’s in our religion and culture to participate in an initiative like this, so let’s all take this step together, and make this a blessed Ramadan.
Download the link of our greeting card on this link, and follow us on social media via @Ela_jary.