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Dubai students ‘homeless’ to raise awareness


March 12, 2013 4:51 by

Hoping to raise money and awareness of life on the streets,  seven students at the Canadian University in Dubai have become ‘homeless’.

Only accepting food handouts from their fellow students to get by, the group spent their first night outside on Sunday, March 10, and will continue to live under these rough conditions until Friday morning, March 15.

All of the proceeds will be donated to Dubai’s Women and Children Foundation.

It all began in snowy Canada, at the campus of Alberta School of Business in 2005, when Frank Callele co-founded Five Days For The Homeless – an initiative involving a group of students living ‘homeless’ to raise both money and awareness for charity.

Fast forward eight years and we find the flame behind the initiative has far from died out.

Callele now lives in Dubai and says he’s ‘under no illusions just how difficult a task the students face,’ but adds how much good it will do them and the homeless people they’ve never met. He stresses that normally by the third day, your body starts to get worn out, and if you don’t sleep properly, you’ll become physically and mentally fatigued.

Kareem Fahmy, Issam Kassabieh, Tiwa Ompe, Javan Wada, Shabbir Furniturewala, Mussaddiq Hassan and Ahmed Qarjouli are the seven students taking ‘a stand’.

Speaking to Kipp Report, Ahmed Qarjouli says he really hopes to achieve their goal of collecting 13,000 dirhams, as well as raising awareness about the homeless around the world – emphasising that ‘yes, they do exist’. “Some of the students on campus knew about our initiative, because it was communicated through the university, but some had no idea and were quite shocked in the beginning,” he says. “I think they thought we were all joking around,” he laughs.

Jordanian Ahmed Qarjouli, thinks it will be difficult for other reasons:  “We are very spoiled here, so I think some people will break down,” he said.

The initiative is mutually organised by the university and students as well, but Spencer Semple, communications manager at CUD, tells Kipp the students ‘really deserve all of the credit’.

He added that the students have received support, solidarity and food handouts from both students and the faculty.


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