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Helping hand: Surplus collector.

He takes from the rich and gives to the poor.

The Surplus Collector (real name Faisal Khan) picks up household items from the fortunate few and hands them over to the needy masses.

"One man's junk is another man's treasure," believes Khan, 34.

"There's great need in the UAE. You can clear out fully-loaded trucks within minutes."

Several hundred families and labourers in Ajman alone have received clothes, cooking pots, furniture, washing machines and other needs over the past few months, he said.

Now, the social worker is all the rage, both in expensive neighbourhoods and labour camps too.

"It's brilliant! I'm glad someone's doing it, especially since it's going to a good cause," said Sonya Munn, a homemaker in a posh corner of Dubai.

"There are many people who need it more than I do."

Moments later, sparkling kitchen sets and shining cabinets in her villa were headed to Sharjah and Ajman homes, hauled behind Khan's Toyota four-wheeler.

The social worker also stopped off at a workers' housing complex off Emirates Road. The residents there were shy at first.

"Take, take," Khan said.

Tens of roommates soon walked away with clothes, an iron and some plates.

A Pakistani resident there said: "Please ask him to save the pillow and blanket for me - I can't afford fresh ones."

Khan pours in 16 hours a day collecting and distributing necessities.

"I live off my property investments. Two gentlemen help me move stuff around," said the father-of-six.

"People find out about me mostly through word-of-mouth, especially among the Western communities. I also have a website ( )."

Khan prefers not to be photographed, saying "it's about them (residents), not me."

The Canadian expatriate - Khan is originally from India - said he consulted government officials and law firms before starting his 'hobby.'

"Dubai Municipality loves it. Some Emirati advocates told me as long as you mean well, you have nothing to worry about."

"My work is never done," he said between phone calls - more pick ups, more drop offs.

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jun 25, 2009
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