Volunteering in Dubai

It’s never too early to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions, hit 2009 with gusto and sign up for some volunteering now

Area Guides

Take on a challenge
Avoiding poisonous snakes and spiders is more de rigueur for the modern charity volunteer, particularly those involved with UAE charity organisation Gulf 4 Good, which allows participants to explore the inner reaches of some of the more intrepid landscapes the world has to offer, all in the aid of raising funds for handpicked charities in the region chosen. Challenges for 2009 include cycling from Vietnam to Cambodia (Mar-Apr 2009); the India Adventure (May); The Inca Trail (July), and the Annapurna Circuit Trek (Oct).
www.gulf4good.org; 04 368 0222

Get back to school
Takatof is a social volunteering organisation, backed by the Emirates Foundation, that aims to give young Emiratis a chance to develop their social conscience, but anyone is encouraged to join in. Among its major projects are school renovations, designed to give volunteers an opportunity for semi-skilled manual work in revamping schools around the UAE, from painting and cleaning, to gardening and site clearing. Projects are ongoing in Fujairah, Dubai’s Al Quoz area, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
Call 800 852 2863 or visit www.takatof.ae for more information

Hospital helpers
There are a number of volunteer hospital schemes operating throughout the UAE. Volunteers must be over 21, and after an interview and selection process, overseen by both the hospital and Takatof, you will undergo orientation before being shown how to deal with patients, assess their needs and be able to offer help. Positions range from administration and reception duties to simply making sure the patients are comfortable. Hospitals running this scheme include Tawam, Al Ain; Rashid Hospital, Dubai; Saqer Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah, and also hospitals in Fujairah and Umm al Quwain.
www.takatof.ae; 800 852 2863

Cuddlers wanted
Cat cuddling might sound like an occupation best reserved for private, but it is a necessary part of the feline re-homing process, as is helping trap stray cats, fostering them, raising awareness of sterilisation of street cats, going on emergency calls and donating your time making things to sell on stalls and garage sales. The work of a Feline Friends volunteer is colourful and varied.
Visit www.felinefriendsuae.com to download a volunteer form

Home improvement

During Ramadan, Takatof volunteers conducted case studies of a number of families in disadvantaged areas of the northern Emirates. It found that house renovations were the most common requirement. Building upon that information, they have since started organising teams of volunteers to help renovate and fix up homes belonging to individuals in the most need. Only the most basic of renovation skills (painting, cleaning, fixing and reassembling) are required of those participating, although the organisers are keen to engage those with engineering experience.
Call 800 852 2863 or visit www.takatof.ae for more information

Make a difference
Médecins Sans Frontières is well known for its work overseas. Volunteer health professionals in all fields, administrators and logistics staff are sought for international projects in desperately poor areas of the world. Non medical volunteers are usually skilled in admin, finance, sanitation or construction, with at least two years of professional experience a necessity. MSF is always looking for volunteers to raise awareness and educate the public across Dubai, ranging from helping at events to making presentation and manning the office.
Call 02 631 7645 or visit www.msfuae.org for more information

Wish fulfilment
The Make-a-Wish Foundation is based in Dubai but fulfils wishes across the UAE. For those unfamiliar with the charity, its aim is to grant children with life-threatening illnesses they’re most cherished wishes. All ages and backgrounds are welcomed to help, and volunteers are expected to be empathetic people with a respect for confidentiality who are at ease working with the families, and can expect to be involved in various fundraising activities and spreading the word.
Call 04 368 0217 or download an application form at www.makeawish.ae

Sight for sore eyes
ForeSight is a UAE-based non-profit organisation offering support to the city’s blind community. Volunteers are welcome in a variety of fields including Arabic translators, and particularly those skilled in photography, film or who own a printing press. But positions are available to help organise events, manage the image library, funds and administration, as well as counseling positions and ‘white stick training’.

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