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Aquarius - - LIFE CHANGES -

Stephanie, 43 from the US, runs a char­i­ta­ble group here which de­liv­ers food and other sup­plies to labour­ers. Here she talks about how 2016 has been the year it has taken off. “Dubai Mums Help­ing Hands kicked off un­ex­pect­edly in 2014, when a group of women sought to make about 200 treat bags for the tram work­ers. What we imag­ined was 200 work­ers was ac­tu­ally 3,600, and we needed help from the com­mu­nity. The re­sponse was so over­whelm­ing that, at that point, I knew we could do more.

“Peo­ple wanted to bring com­pas­sion into our labour com­mu­nity but sim­ply didn’t know how. Dubai Mums Help­ing Hands sprung out of the need of giv­ing peo­ple a way to do so!

“This has been our best year yet. Our base of care­givers has grown by leaps and bounds and our page is ac­tive. We’ve run a fruit and vegetable bus into work­ers’ ac­com­mo­da­tion four times this year, de­liv­er­ing over 20,000 bags of gro­ceries and hy­giene packs to our labour com­mu­nity, with­out a sin­gle dirham. These bags all come from the vol­un­teers who join our bus and there’s never been an empty seat.

“Fam­i­lies turn up and bring their chil­dren, be­cause let’s face it, our chil­dren are to­mor­row’s lead­ers, which makes their ex­po­sure to other ways of life very im­por­tant. While the fruit and vegetable bus pro­vides food, our vol­un­teers pro­vide friend­ship and care, as we build con­nec­tions be­tween us.

“At one of our most re­cent fruit and vegetable cam­paigns, one of our vol­un­teers brought her eight-month-old son. He was a big hit and she was more than happy for some of the men to hold him. You can’t imag­ine the joy on their faces. It was a treat for all of us!

“It does take up a lot of time, but the time is well spent and worth it. As an in­di­vid­ual, it has clar­i­fied for me how we are all the same in­side. I have learned more from this ex­pe­ri­ence than you can even imag­ine – more about peo­ple, cul­tures, co-ex­ist­ing, and cre­ativ­ity.

“The house is al­ways full of items ready for dis­tri­bu­tion. Re­cently a nail sa­lon closed and brought us over 300 bot­tles of nail pol­ish. We have amazing re­la­tion­ships with the labour­ers and we’re now en­cour­ag­ing com­pa­nies to match our dis­tri­bu­tion ef­forts.

“There are many goals within our or­gan­i­sa­tion, but the most im­por­tant one is to keep our labour­ers com­fort­able. Ninety per cent of the men here are here sup­port­ing their chil­dren through ed­u­ca­tion, some of whom are the first in their fam­ily to go to school, which is a big leap and the only way some of the is­sues they face will start to re­solve them­selves.

“We want to be­come an ex­tended fam­ily to these men and women, al­though we may not visit ev­ery one enough, we want to bring joy when and where we can with a mes­sage that sim­ply shows we care. We don’t want any­thing from any­one, other than a sim­ple smile and hope­fully a pos­i­tive spin to the day for us and for them. That’s our only mo­ti­va­tion and mes­sage.” To vol­un­teer with Dubai Mums Help­ing Hands, find them on Face­book – DMHelp­ingHands Note: DMHH runs penny-less and op­er­ates solely through goods brought to their projects via their vol­un­teer base. No money is used within this or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“It does take up a lot of time, but it’s worth it. As an in­di­vid­ual, it has clar­i­fied for me how we are all the same in­side” TOP Stephanie with her hus­band Paul and their daugh­ters Left Food and vegetable dis­tri­bu­tion days are a fun day out for all the fam­ily ABOVE LEFT Stephanie on the fruit and vegetable bus ABOVE RIGHT A Dubai labourer gets a cud­dle with the son of one of the vol­un­teers.

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