Vol­un­teer­ing made easy in Dubai


Gulf News - - Front Page - DUBAI BY JAN­ICE PONCE DE LEON Staff Reporter

New app en­cour­ages res­i­dents to share their time and en­ergy for a day as a vol­un­teer |

Peo­ple, on av­er­age, spend 34 days’ time in a year on so­cial me­dia. De­vot­ing one day out of that to help­ing peo­ple will have a big im­pact on their lives, es­pe­cially if done for free and with sin­cer­ity.

I nstead of mind­lessly scrolling through so­cial me­dia for hours on your spare time, why not spend your pre­cious hour run­ning er­rands for the el­derly, help­ing ren­o­vate schools, record­ing au­dio­books for the vis­ually im­paired as vol­un­teers in Dubai or help­ing in disas­ter relief abroad?

Shaikh Ham­dan Bin Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Crown Prince of Dubai, has made vol­un­teer­ing easy in Dubai with the launch of the ‘Day for Dubai’, an ini­tia­tive that en­cour­ages res­i­dents to share their time and en­ergy for a day as a vol­un­teer in Dubai.

Shaikh Ham­dan yes­ter­day sent SMSes to res­i­dents fol­low­ing the launch of the Day for Dubai app that serves as a one-stop cat­a­logue or record of all vol­un­teer­ing events in Dubai and, pos­si­bly, abroad.

“Join me on www.day­for­dubai.com to re­in­force Dubai’s po­si­tion as a global city of giv­ing and a cen­tre of tol­er­ance and compassion,” Shaikh Ham­dan said in the SMS.

The idea stemmed from Shaikh Ham­dan’s call to res­i­dents last week to sug­gest how he can make a dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives for one day on the In­ter­na­tional Vol­un­teer Day cel­e­brated on De­cem­ber 5.

Shaikh Ham­dan urged res­i­dents to ded­i­cate their time, and go be­yond typ­i­cal vol­un­teer­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, by mak­ing vol­un­teer­ing a life­style. They can give their time, knowl­edge, skills and pas­sion.

When it comes to time, the global time spent on so­cial me­dia is 135 min­utes a day. That’s two hours and 15 min­utes. Add that up for a full year and that’s one full month and four days of just do­ing that — so­cial me­dia.

But just de­vot­ing one day out of that month to help­ing peo­ple will have a big im­pact on their lives, es­pe­cially if done for free and with sin­cer­ity.

The ser­vices and time of 3,819 vol­un­teers this year, for ex­am­ple, con­trib­uted man hours equiv­a­lent to more than Dh6.3 mil­lion.

With the vol­un­teer­ing ini­tia­tive, it is ex­pected that the level of aware­ness of peo­ple about vol­un­teer­ing, cur­rently at a low rate of 9.2 per cent among Emi­ratis and 3.6 per cent among non-Emi­ratis based on the Dubai So­cial Sur­vey re­leased last year, will in­crease. Res­i­dents who have al­ways wanted to vol­un­teer but do not know where to go will now be able to do it with ease.

The Day for Dubai app was launched for Ap­ple and An­droid users and gives a com­pi­la­tion of vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties where res­i­dents can reg­is­ter and choose where they can con­trib­ute — whether in a school, an in­sti­tu­tion, or a hos­pi­tal, or a gov­ern­ment en­tity, an official from the de­vel­oper of the app, Watani Al Emarat, told Gulf News.


The app lists 13 vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to serve the el­derly, chil­dren and youth, and peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion. The other cat­e­gories are ed­u­ca­tion, men­tor­ing, health, community sup­port, sports and re­cre­ation, cul­ture and arts, en­vi­ron­ment and wildlife, tol­er­ance and hope, emer­gency and safety, and in­ter­na­tional vol­un­teer­ing.

Whether it’s help­ing in disas­ter man­age­ment and relief op­er­a­tions abroad or en­gag­ing with peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion through ac­tiv­i­ties such as horse rid­ing, scuba and sky­div­ing, clean­ing the desert and beach ar­eas of Dubai, con­duct­ing self­de­fence and sur­vival work­shops for women and chil­dren, res­i­dents will have plenty of ac­tiv­i­ties to choose from.

Other vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties are in ma­jor city events like the Dubai Marathon, In­no­va­tion Month, World Cancer Day and World Gov­ern­ment Sum­mit.

The app also dis­plays the date, lo­ca­tion, number of vol­un­teers needed, and vol­un­teer­ing hours for each op­por­tu­nity.

Vol­un­teers may track their ac­counts, log their hours and view their spe­cific duty and achieve­ments.

The app will also recog­nise vol­un­teers de­pend­ing on their vol­un­teer­ing hours in an hon­our roll.

Viren­dra Sak­lani/Gulf News Archives

Vol­un­teers as­sem­bling back-to-school kits for Syr­ian refugees in Jor­dan dur­ing an event or­gan­ised by Dubai Cares. The Day for Dubai app lists 13 vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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