Friday - - In The Uae -

It’s 7am on a Fri­day morn­ing but the ex­cited en­ergy of eight-year-old Aditi and Aniruddh Ajith, 5, be­lies the fact that the sib­lings are ac­com­pa­ny­ing their par­ents to work­ers’ ac­com­mo­da­tion in an in­dus­trial area in Shar­jah.

‘I don’t feel sleepy. I like com­ing here be­cause shar­ing with oth­ers is good and these un­cles ask me “what’s your name” and “how old are you”,’ Aniruddh chirps, in be­tween hand­ing out food pack­ages to a line of work­ers that stretches for a kilo­me­tre and only keeps build­ing dur­ing the course of next hour. The Ajiths, and eight oth­ers, have gath­ered at this clus­ter of ac­com­mo­da­tion as part of a drive con­ducted by Care2Share, a CSR ini­tia­tive by Medulla, a Dubai-based CSR con­sult­ing com­pany that iden­ti­fies and sup­ports blue-col­lar work­ers in the UAE.

Care2Share’s project man­ager Roshni Raimal­wala is su­per­vis­ing the ef­fi­cient assem­bly line of in­di­vid­ual vol­un­teers who have come to­gether for this project. It’s an ef­fec­tive, quick op­er­a­tion. The group reaches the lo­ca­tion pre-iden­ti­fied by Care2Share, and within min­utes tres­tle ta­bles are set up and car­tons of pip­ing hot food that the in­di­vid­u­als want to gift to work­ers are placed on the ta­bles, while other vol­un­teers do crowd con­trol. On this visit, the work­ers are be­ing gifted a bot­tle of cook­ing oil, fruit, bread and samosas.

Mal­lika Ravi, a 56-year-old spir­i­tual healer, is there to cel­e­brate her fa­ther’s birth­day by gift­ing pip­ing hot samosas to the work­ers that she has had de­liv­ered half an hour be­fore. ‘This is usu­ally how I cel­e­brate birth­days in the fam­ily. The re­ac­tion [of grat­i­tude] that you get from them is more sat­is­fy­ing that throw­ing a party,’ she says, teary eyed, de­scrib­ing how a ‘thank you’ or good ‘morn­ing’ from them makes her day.

Raja Aiyaa, from Hy­der­abad, has worked at the ac­com­mo­da­tion as a watch­man for 20 years, and had no words to de­scribe his hap­pi­ness – only a mel­low smile as he brings his palm over his heart. Mo­ham­mad Shapon, from Bangladesh, shares ‘the good wishes’, that ‘come au­to­mat­i­cally from our heart. This is a re­ally good deed, there are lots of poor peo­ple here who can’t af­ford to spend money on all of this [the food and gro­ceries] as they don’t have enough salary.’

Saroj Raut, a 22-year-old Nepali, has seen Care2Share hand­outs be­fore but never had a chance to come as his work as a garbage col­lec­tor clashed with hand­out times. ‘It’s such a nice thing, they’re do­ing an act of hu­man­ity. I earn a salary of Dh1,100 per month and work for eight hours daily. It’s not enough to buy these won­der­ful things. They’re do­ing a good deed; of con­nect­ing and unit­ing peo­ple, it shows com­pas­sion.’

Anowar Hossain is proof that the pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion to vol­un­teer is in­de­pen­dent of your fi­nan­cial where­withal. He’s there to help with crowd con­trol and un­load pack­ages. This is the 32-year-old Bangladeshi of­fice boy’s way of con­tribut­ing be­cause he can’t buy items and gift them to the work­ers. ‘It’s so rushed – we don’t have time to sit and talk with them but when there’s time they tell us of their hard­ships; they miss their fam­i­lies be­cause they only go home ev­ery two or three years.’ Anowar has been at­tend­ing Care2Share hand­outs for four years and in­tends to vol­un­teer as long as he’s in the UAE: ‘If I miss a Fri­day be­cause I’m sleepy or I’m busy, I feel bad and think about why I didn’t go.’

How to join a Care2Share drive

Roshni Raimal­wala says drives are open to all ages, na­tion­al­i­ties and gen­ders. The only qual­i­fi­ca­tion is that vol­un­teers be ‘ded­i­cated and pa­tient, along with a gen­uine con­cern for mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the so­ci­ety.’ Par­tic­i­pants can ei­ther choose to come with items they’d like to gift or else they’re also wel­come to just lend a help­ing hand and help dis­trib­ute the gifts. ‘Per­ish­able items such as food prod­ucts and non-per­ish­able es­sen­tial goods are ac­cepted as part of con­tri­bu­tions for all our drives,’ Roshni adds. For Ra­madan, Care2Share will iden­tify needy camps and help com­pa­nies or­gan­ise iftar meals.

Call 04 383 5494 or email roshni@medul­

Project man­ager Roshni (in yel­low) with vol­un­teers in­clud­ing Mal­lika (in green) and Anowar (fifth from right); right, Aditi and Aniruddh

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