VOL­UN­TEER­ING TO HELP MAKE A DIF­FER­ENCE

7 Days in Dubai - - SPECIAL REPORT -

UAE res­i­dents are help­ing to put a smile on the faces of young Syr­ian refugees by vol­un­teer­ing at a school ed­u­cat­ing chil­dren from more than 20 camps in eastern Le­banon. Dubai teacher Norhan Aboulelela and PR agent If­fat Al Gharbi are among 100 vol­un­teers at Ju­soor’s Bekaa Cen­tre, an in­for­mal school for thou­sands of refugees from camps such as Ju­rahiyeh in the Bekaa Val­ley. Aboulelela, 23, said she wanted to be “part of a dif­fer­ence” for chil­dren dis­placed by war so she started Googling pro­grammes to help Syr­ian refugees. “It’s so un­fair what they’ve been through,” said the Jumeirah Vil­lage Tri­an­gle res­i­dent. “So I love putting a smile on their face, that’s why I’m here. I love see­ing them run and laugh and learn some­thing.” Over the next month, Aboulelela, an guid­ance coun­sel­lor at the In­ter­na­tional School of Arts and Sci­ence in Dubai, will be teach­ing chil­dren aged six to 10 years old in English, art and sci­ences. “Some of these stu­dents have burns on their face and all over their body from bomb­ings,” said the Egyp­tian. “What can you say to these chil­dren? It’s tough. Some of them burst into tears in the mid­dle of a class­room song be­cause they’ve seen their par­ents killed in front of them. “I don’t think any amount of train­ing can equip you for that.” She urged peo­ple in the UAE to try sim­i­lar pro­grammes to re­mind them what’s im­por­tant. “Dubai es­pe­cially has be­come too ma­te­ri­al­is­tic,” she said. “Noth­ing is ever enough, you al­ways want more.”

KEEN TO LEARN: Norhan Aboulelela with the Syr­ian chil­dren at the school

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