We profile the organisations providing services to Dubai’s low income workers and how you can get involved.
As we prepare for the Holy Month of Ramadan, thoughts turn to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Despite the nation’s wealth there are many people living and working in the city on very low wages. Most notable and visible among them are the emirate’s legions of construction workers. The men building the city’s gleaming skyscrapers, cleaning the streets and public areas, toiling under the hot sun are often overlooked by better off residents and many tourists are oblivious to their existence, but a number of organisations exist to provide these low income workers with a support network, access to opportunities healthcare and education, and they need your help to continue their efforts.
Adopt-a-Camp aims to improve the lives of the city’s workers by not just delivering care packages but also by ‘adopting’ the camp and creating lasting social bonds with the workers. The organisation operates with the ethos that by taking on the entire camp it can reach out to the workers’ families and community. It organises volunteer days where hundreds of people come together to source, pack and distribute thousands of ‘care packages’ which include blankets, mattresses and hygiene items. This year’s Ramadan Care Packages night will take place on July 17 and 18, if you want to help package and distribute the Iftar to workers email email@example.com
www.adoptacamp.ae (055 862 2606).
Care for Labourers
A non-profit organisation that focuses on improving the lives of low-paid workers by providing a platform for ideas and suggestions. Care for Labourers is run by Mukund Menda who has lived in Dubai all his life and has a great passion for the cause. The Facebook page is updated and used as a sounding board to help companies and individuals who want to volunteer or get information. Care for Labourers holds events such as fundraising dinners and guest speaker events for labourers allowing them to learn about issues such as finance.
Volunteer in UAE
Volunteers are often the driving force of non-profit organisations and this useful and well-structured site provides a place where those that want to donate their time to help others can register their details and find out a whole host of benevolent causes that need a hand, such as the Pass the Glass initiative which hands out water to workers. The organisation also ensures that charities get the right kind of people for their specific needs.
The Sameness Project
This organisation works on the ethos that regardless of race, creed, religion or class, all people are the same and the site aims to encourage sharing common experiences. Not only dedicated to any one cause, the initiative organises ‘water for workers’ where volunteers give out cool bottles of water to labourers all over the city. The purpose is not only for volunteers to distribute the water. It aims to give helpers the opportunity to engage with the workers to break down boundaries, also giving volunteers the chance to take the opportunity to appreciate them for their efforts in the process. The next water for workers project is scheduled for August 30.
www.thesamenessproject.com (055 220 6727).
Smartlife Foundation is registered with the Community Development Authority of Dubai. It runs a number of projects that provide workers with an intellectual, social and physical break from the demands of their jobs. Some labourers have had limited education and thus the opportunities for promotion and social mobility are capped. The foundation offers basic English classes, IT, and education sponsorship programmes.
During Ramadan the foundation organises iftar for labourers, catered for by the foundation’s sponsors. The website is quite comprehensive and volunteers, and sponsors are welcome to register their details on the site stating exactly how they would like to get involved.
www.smartlifefoundation.org (055 416 2001).