It’s fair to say that many of us move to Dubai for ourselves – to further our career, to earn a tax-free salary, to enjoy sun, sea and sand – and it’s always good to give back to a city that’s given us so much. Ramadan is the perfect opportunity, which is why Time Out has selected ten good causes, some completely new, others little-known, that need your support this year.
Act Now campaign
What it does: Launched by the Canadian Specialist Hospital (CSH), this campaign aims to tackle the issue of childhood obesity by encouraging lifestyle changes to address the cause of the problem. With recent reports placing the UAE fifth in a list of the world’s most obese countries, the idea is to educate parents and children on how to make long-term, healthy adjustments to their routine.
How you can help: Be open to the education being offered, and find out more at www.facebook.com/cshdubai.
Canadian Specialist Hospital, Abu Hail, www.csh.ae (04 708 2222).
Elasmobranch Protection Group UAE (EPG-UAE)
What it does: This newly formed group is on a mission to raise awareness about the plight of the region’s 30 species of sharks, rays and sawfish, whose populations have been decimated worldwide. ‘The aim is for the public to be aware that the fate of these 400-million-year-old sea ancients is now in human hands,’ says Melanie Salmon of marina conservation charity Global Ocean, which runs the campaign. ‘Their fate depends on whether we can control consumer demand from Asia, wiping out any hope of a commercial shark fishery here in the Gulf.’
How you can help: Attend one of the group’s meetings and spread the word.
www.facebook.com/EPGUAE (no number).
UAE Dolphin Project
What it does: Although still in the early stages, with initial research expected to begin in September, the UAE Dolphin Project aims to gather scientific information about the local dolphin population off the coast of Dubai. Beyond the occasional sighting, little is known about the species at present, whether they are resident or transitory, and whether their population is in decline.
How you can help: One of the main activities in the public awareness campaign is the Occasional Sighting Network. It means that every time that anybody sees a dolphin, they can report it, sharing simple data such as date, time, location, how many dolphins and, if possible, sending a picture. All data will be filed in a single database and will be extremely useful to scientists studying dolphins in the region.
email@example.com (056 671 7164).
Dubai Blood Donation Centre
What it does: Every three seconds, somebody, somewhere needs a blood transfusion, and the job of this Dubai Health Authority centre is to make sure there is enough blood to enable the city’s hospitals to do their job and save lives. Car crash victims suffering massive blood loss often need transfusions of 50 units or more, and considering that road traffic accidents top the list of deaths in Dubai, it’s no wonder demand for blood is high.
How you can help: Give now. Just make sure you are aged between 17 and 65, weigh at least 50kg and are in good health.
Opening hours TBC. Dubai Blood Donation Centre, Latifa Hospital, Oud Metha Road (04 219 3221).
What it does: The group organises regular Sunday events for children with special needs, or just those who find themselves in a ‘special predicament’, with all events provided completely free of charge. Activities take place all over Dubai, and include skiing at Ski Dubai, regular visits to Vox Cinemas, days out at Fun City and waterpark fun at Wild Wadi.
How you can help: Volunteer your time and help during the Sunday morning events.
Various locations, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What it does: On Thursday August 9, aka Care Packages Night 2012, volunteers will be needed to help assemble at least 5,000 Ramadan care packages to be distributed at labour camps across Dubai. These aren’t gift pouches, but hefty cartons designed to make a long-lasting, substantial impact on the quality of the men’s lives. They include three months’ worth of toiletries, energy-food items and specific items requested
by the men themselves, such as pillows, towels, socks and plates.
How you can help: Help pack and assemble care packages on Thursday August 9 from 9pm until 3am.
Dubai World Trade Centre, www.adoptacamp.ae (050 455 3157).
What it does: This mobile clinic’s mission is to spread awareness and encourage the early detection of breast cancer among UAE women through regular self-examination and screening.
How you can help: Volunteer your time: they particularly need people with backgrounds in medicine, events and equine care, as well as mechanics, four-wheel-drive specialists and veterinarians. Alternatively, make a donation through the website to keep the project going.
Various locations, www.pinkcaravan.ae (06 506 5543).
Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC)
What it does: Put simply, the foundation aims to offer protection and support for women and children who have been victims of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking.
How you can help: DFWAC is always on the lookout for professional volunteers, as well as donations of new items for women and children. There are also sponsorship opportunities for both corporate and individual donors.
Al Awir, www.dfwac.ae (04 606 0300).
Valley of Love
What it does: This non-governmental organisation provides a helping hand for those in need, whatever their background. From assisting those in hospital to helping families with the formalities of death and repatriation, the 16 volunteers and their much larger network of contacts aim to ease the burden for anyone who is struggling by offering assistance, solace and hope.
How you can help: Do you have a particular skill, time or the financial freedom to help the VOL team? Drop them a line at email@example.com.
Various locations (050 309 0506).
The Change Initiative
What it does: The first shop in Dubai to sell only sustainable, environmentally friendly products, The Change Initiative stocks everything from water- and energy-saving technology for the home to organic food and fashion accessories manufactured using recycled materials.
How you can help: Do your bit for the environment by popping in and quizzing the staff on how you can make improvements to your home. There is no obligation to buy anything, though water-saving devices start from just Dhs50.
Open Sun-Thu 8am-9pm, Fri-Sat 9am-10pm, Ramadan hours daily 9am-9pm. Al Barsha, www.thechangeinitiative.com (800 824).
Clean out your wardrobe for a good cause this Holy Month…
There are all manner of charity drives and initiatives running throughout the Holy Month. If you have unwanted clothes, there are plentiful donation boxes and drop-off points at malls to enable them to be distributed to those in need. Comfort Creations (www.facebook.com/comfortzonearabia), for example, has donation booths at Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre (until Tuesday July 31) or at Mirdif City Centre (until Tuesday August 14). Meanwhile, Majid Al Futtaim Properties is encouraging shoppers to donate everyday items such as clothing, books, reading glasses and mobile phones for its ‘Make a Difference this Ramadan’ campaign. Donation boxes can be found at Deira City Centre, Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Centre, with donated items handed to the Red Crescent.