Young girls spend '100 hours of giving' to help underpriviledged families


Young girls spend 100 hours of giving to help underpriviledged families
The girls learnt to make rugs, cushions, shoe racks, baskets, chairs and doorsteps out of recycled items

Dubai - Under Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah, the workshops taught young girls to create items from recycled materials, to be donated to needy families


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Sun 20 Aug 2017, 9:03 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Aug 2017, 11:07 PM

Instead of spending their summer playing games, watching movies or hanging out with friends, 800 young Emiratis have been dedicating their school holidays working to provide basic necessities for families in need.
As part of the '100 hours of Giving' summer camp, young volunteers aged 13-18 years old have been providing 72 homes across Sharjah, Kalba and Khorfakkan with their own handmade items and crafts made from recycled items.
Under Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah, the four-week programme launched this year held workshops to teach young girls how to create items from recycled materials, for five hours a day, five days a week throughout August. These were donated to the homes of families in need.
Aisha Al Suwaidi, programme coordinator at Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah, said the young volunteers spent the first day of the programme visiting houses to determine what each family needs. They learnt to make rugs, cushions, shoe racks, baskets, chairs and doorsteps out of recycled items. Others painted and volunteered to provide additional gifts.
The initiative is being implemented in collaboration with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), the philanthropic partner, and a few others.
"In line with the Year of Giving, we wanted to endorse the culture of volunteering among the younger generation. We also wanted them to take the lead, so we let them visit the families and make a list of what each one needed, before working on the items themselves," said Al Suwaidi.
The volunteers in Sharjah conducted visits in collaboration with the Sharjah Police, who provided a safe, supervised environment. A total of 16 teams leaders were in charge of the girls who were split into eight groups to cover different areas in the emirate.
Seeing the other side
"During our previous volunteering activities, we saw what the girls learned really impacted their personalities. That's why we decided to dedicate a whole month to volunteering," said Al Suwaidi. She added that volunteering gave a new perspective, making them aware about how the other half lived.
The programme - open to Emiratis and GCC nationals - puts young girls in direct contact with the less privileged, thus exposing them to different segments of society. "Once they come in contact with those in need, they get a real sense of how giving can impact others. They get to see people's reactions when given even basic necessities.
"Through this programme, we also give them an opportunity to speak about their experience for 15 minutes, to develop their public speaking skills. We look forward to developing their leadership skills, helping them grow into strong personalities," said Al Suwaidi.
The young girls also spread the word to their friends and peers, passing on the habit of volunteering and giving.
On their part, the girls took away brand new perspectives from the programme. Nirjis Yousef, 13, said it helped her see how the other side of the community existed. "I never knew people that poor lived in the UAE, and that's because we are never exposed to this side," said Yousef. "I saw people without mattresses to sleep on, and slept on the floor instead. Others did not have ACs in their homes."
Yousef added that the experience made her feel grateful and value what she has. Echoing similar thoughts was Ghaya Humaid, 14, who said she chose to volunteer this year to learn something new. "Instead of wasting time during the summer holidays, I thought of volunteering to give back to society," said Humaid.
She now plans to spread awareness and encourage other girls to do the same. "There are many things in life that we take for granted, and putting yourself out there to help people is what counts," said Humaid.
Noor Abdelrahman, 14, said that volunteering made her a happier person. "There's certain feeling of happiness and satisfaction that you get only when you give. It's a feeling of making a difference, no matter how small it is," she noted.
The girls also said that making new and different items with their own hands improved their skills and increased their confidence. "Making something on your own makes you realise you're capable of doing things you never imagined," said Abdelrahman.

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