Watch: YouTube star raises $11 million for charity after 11 days of living in glass box in Dubai


YouTube star AboFlah raised a whopping $11 million (Dh40.4 million) after 11 days of living in a glass box at Burj Park in Downtown Dubai to bring warmth to over 110,000 families in the region this winter.

AboFlah walked free from his glass box to a cheering crowd in a grand celebration on Wednesday midnight in Downtown Dubai, where he has been locked up since January 7, after exceeding his initial $10 million (Dh36.7 million) goal that aimed to support 100,000 families as part of the UAE’s Warm Winter initiative, held under the 2nd edition of World’s Coolest Winter campaign.

Livestreaming his experience to over 23.7 million YouTube subscribers, AboFlah succeeded in attracting 154,789 donors from all over the world to raise $11 million that will help provide food, winter clothing, blankets, mattresses and critical aid to 110,461 refugee families in Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon and vulnerable individuals in Syria and Egypt.

“We have learned that nothing is impossible, especially in the UAE,” said AboFlah who broke two world records as part of the initiative for the longest live-stream video, which lasted 11 days, four hours and 14 minutes, and for the most viewers for a charity donation live stream on YouTube.

His multiple victories were a subject of celebration broadcasted on Burj Khalifa and cheered on by hundreds of attendees at Burj Park in Downtown Dubai and thousands of online viewers.

“I always say there’s a lot of good in this world, and today proves exactly that. Humanitarian work brings us closer and brings out the best in all of us. I’m very humbled. Together, we lift each other up,” said the YouTuber, who’s been calling the UAE home since last month.

In a previous interview with Khaleej Times, AboFlah, whose real name is Hassan Suleiman, said he had expected to stay locked for 2-3 weeks until he raises the targeted amount.

Vowing to remain until he reaches his target, he noted that the kind gestures of onlookers and passersby and the support of the millions of his subscribers provided him with the energy to keep going.

Flood of donations

The Warm Winter initiative, launched by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives in collaboration with Galaxy Racer, attracted donations from people from all over the world, alongside prominent UAE businessmen, social groups and charity organizations.

The Emirates Red Crescent donated $1.1 million, Dar Al Ber Society dedicated $1.01 million and the UAE Food Bank contributed $1 million. Businessman Ahmed Mohammed Khalaf Al Habtoor donated Dh400,000, Suhail Al Hashimi donated Dh100,000 and businesswoman Khulood Al Maleh contributed Dh140,000.

The distribution of winter aid for the beneficiaries across Africa and the Middle East will be carried out with the support of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Food Banking Regional Network.

AboFlah is no stranger to humanitarian work. In October 2021, he raised $1 million (Dh3.67 million) during a 28-hour live broadcast to provide urgent winter aid for 5,715 families (over 17,000 refugees) in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq in coordination with UNHCR.

Vowing to continue his humanitarian endeavors, he said, “My life is filled with blessings, and the least I can do is give back. There’s a lot of people in need for our help, and I hope this initiative plays a small part in bringing comfort to people facing harsh winter conditions,” he said.

He stressed his commitment to using the power of the internet to improve the lives of vulnerable people in the region and unite viewers from all over the world towards good cause.

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