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.