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Coronavirus Pandemic

16-year-old Dubai expat launches youth engagement platform to use on-screen time effectively

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on September 4, 2020


'The idea dawned upon me when I realised the toll this pandemic was having on the youth'

With meaningful virtual activities, an initiative launched by a 16-year-old is gaining traction. In May, when most residents were observing the stay-at-home policy to avoid the spread of Covid-19, 16-year-old Lamya Butt sensed people's frustration. She initiated Resilient Together (RT) to provide youth with opportunities.

In a short time, with over 500 members from across the world, the engagement platform has offered 11 courses; hosted a ludo tournament, conducted debate sessions and podcasts featuring accomplished people.

"The idea dawned upon me when I realised the toll this pandemic was having on the youth. RT springs from the idea that anything is possible if we are together.

"It is a culmination of events, activities, initiatives and opportunities for the youth-focused on community engagement and creating resilience through the pandemic. How we plan on making use of our time is dependent on us," said Lamya.

RT initiative has two main themes - youth empowerment and Covid-19-based initiatives, according to this Pakistani teenager. "The main focus is to provide a safety net for the youth. we conducted RT Summer Programme over a period of eight days was an instant hit. We offered students 11 fun online courses such as coding, debate, public speaking, photography, baking, French exchange programme, dance, history, drama, art and digital art. The courses were delivered by expert student instructors from around the world including the prestigious Williams College in the USA, Good Shepherd School in India, University at Buffalo Texas, among others," said Lamya, a student at Dubai Scholars Private School.

To add more meaning to the initiative, RT has partnered with Dubai Cares, and charged students Dh5 per course that they directly donated to the charity's account. The students managed to raise over Dh1,000 for the charity to buy devices for 20,000 needy students in the UAE.

The completely student-led initiative - by the students for the students of all ages - saw the participation of 150 students from the UAE, USA, Malaysia, Qatar, Pakistan and India. Its public speaking programme, Open Mic, saw the participation of 20 students speakers and over 100 attendees who spoke on body positivity, loss of loved one, Covid-19 among others. The online Ludo Tournament saw 10 teams competing through a Zoom call. The RT core team comprises 30 students from the age 14 to 19.

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