35 receive awards for voluntary work

ABU DHABI — The Zayed Higher Organisation (ZHO) for Humanitarian Care, Special Needs and Minors Affairs organised an award ceremony at the Emirates Palace Hotel here on Wednesday to honour foreign and Arab volunteers.

By Atef Hanafi

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Published: Mon 5 Jun 2006, 10:50 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:20 PM

More than 35 foreign female volunteers, 15 Arabs and 15 attendants for elderly from the Red Crescent Association, participated in the event.

Khaleej Times met some of these volunteers including Pat Stiff who is one of the foreigners who give a helping hand to children with special needs at the Abu Dhabi Centre for Medical Rehabilitation.

Pat says that she came to the UAE for the first time in 1998. She left and came back in 2004. During this period she has been keen to participate in voluntary work for people with special needs. She visits the Abu Dhabi Medical Rehabilitation Centre four times a week to offer a helping hand in taking care of the children there.

She said that these children need to feel they are surrounded by people, who help them. “The role of volunteers doesn’t end within the centre’s premises, as they (children) are going out on field trips to places such as the English Club, Marina Mall and parks.

Pat said she had never volunteered before for a humanitarian cause back in the UK prior to her arrival in Abu Dhabi, and that it was here where she was introduced to and joined this field.

Yasmeen Mageed, a Muslim American from California, says that voluntary work is not new for her, as she used to work as a teacher for children back in the US, which gave her experience to be able to deal with the children at the Abu Dhabi Centre for Medical Rehabilitation.

She said that during her stay in Minnesota, she and other volunteers used to assist Somali refugees who escaped the civil war back in their homeland, through a programme to provide education for the children of these families, in addition to providing food.

Yasmeen also said that voluntary work has been a mission for her and her family even long before she came to Abu Dhabi. She and her husband used to join voluntary activities during the weekends in the US.

She said the Abu Dhabi Medical Rehabilitation Centre offers excellent services for the inmates, as it provides high quality medical equipment and facilities.

The ceremony started with a welcome address by Mohammed Fadel Al Hameli, Deputy Director and General Secretary of the Establishment. He stressed on voluntary work for all nationalities. He said that since the inception of the organisation in 1999, voluntary work has been open to everyone from all ages and sectors.

Al Hameli called for support so that the centre can perform its mission, and to spread the concept of voluntary work for humanitarian purposes.

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