“My charity is my skill,” is the first thing that Sultan Al Abdali said when asked about good deeds. There are a few misconceptions when it comes to charity, as many people consider tangible dollar bills to be the only form of charity, which is absolutely a mistake in the young filmmaker’s dictionary.
Al Abdali is a 33-year-old Omani filmmaker, whose passion for film is endless. He is also a martial arts enthusiast, a break-dancer, and enjoys utilising his skills for a good cause. His charity adventure began after filming for an event that changed his perception of charitable deeds and made him a fan of giving back to his people in unconventional ways.
In 2009, Al Abdali bought his very first film equipment and started filming for friends and family for as low as OMR2, building his name and reputation. After getting his name out there, he received a call from a charity asking him for his contribution to a charity event at a school for the blind, but they did not want his money, they wanted him to contribute with his polished skills in video. The young man took the call and filmed for the school, little did he know that this act would end up changing his life forever; he realised how much of a good feeling a charitable act can bring to one’s heart. From that day, filming for such events became part of his charity and voluntary work.
Al Abdali takes his charity service quite seriously as he offers a helping hand to those who are truly in need of support. “I have to study the charity before contributing, he explained, adding that he films industry-standard videos for an event without or with a minimum charge. “I don’t have money to give, but I can provide you a film with a crew that will help put your vision out.”
“If there’s a charitable event taking place in Somalia, some won’t be able to go, but I can show them,” said Al Abdali, adding that “I come for free and pay my own ticket, and you never know maybe people will be inspired to contribute even more as they will see where their money is going.”
Al Abdali has done numerous projects for major companies in town, including Red Bull, Ooredoo, and the Duqm Refinery to name a few. His favourite experience was with Ooredoo, which he was part of for five consecutive years. The project involved going to various parts of Oman and filming their charitable contributions for two weeks, which was aimed at raising awareness on the matter. “It’s nice to see people feel good because of something you did or made happen,” said Al Abdali.
Sometimes he does free films for new small and medium enterprises that need visuals for their brand, and for him, this is a form of charity and good deeds. “Regardless of your situation, you can still give back to society; you don’t have to do charity only when you have money as giving back with skills can sometimes be better than giving back with money,” said Al Abdali.