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Combating coronavirus: Over 150 social workers sacrifice celebrations to help needy families

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 26, 2020 | Last updated on May 26, 2020 at 07.03 am

(Supplied photo)

Kader is also a Covid-19 survivor. He resumed social work after he recovered from the virus and completed 14 days of home quarantine.

For 150 volunteers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in the UAE, Eid Al Fitr was just another 'day at work'. In collaboration with local authorities including the Dubai Police and the Dubai Health Authority, the volunteers spent the first day of Eid running awareness camps and providing food to needy families in Al Quoz, Jebel Ali, DIP and Sonapur.

However, in a bid to make the day special for the volunteers who have spent the last two months serving those in communities such as Naif, Al Ras and Al Warsan localities in Dubai, the group leaders provided them with special prizes and tokens of appreciation from private companies in the UAE.

On the first day of Eid, the men were provided with specially- designed blue kandouras, hot meal packets and sports shoes provided by Skechers to name a few. The hot meals for the volunteers were sponsored by Kozhikode Star Restaurant in Qusais.

Away from families for two months

"In many cases, we have been going to homes where Covid-19 patients lived, to provide them food packets. Most of us have been living in hotels and have not seen our families in the past two months," said Zaman Abdul Kader, an Indian businessman and volunteer.

Kader is also a Covid-19 survivor. He resumed social work after he recovered from the virus and completed 14 days of home quarantine. The volunteers belong to several cultural and social organisations, including Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, UAE PRO Association, Care Dubai, All Kerala College Alumni Forum (AKCAF) and Model Service Society (MSS).

Several independent social workers have also been actively working to help families and bachelors who have been impacted by the spread and restrictions imposed due to coronavirus. Since so many independent organisations were willing to support, the efforts of all groups have been streamlined by Dubai-based Indian businessman Mohammed Ali Parakkadavu.

"He has been running operations since day one with the support from the UAE Government. He receives calls 24/7 and directs the various volunteering groups on where to go and what to do," explained Zaman.

He added: "We have been on ground-zero from day one. We distribute foodstuffs - both hot meal packets and grocery kits - transfer positive cases to medical centres with the DHA, assist them to conduct tests, and more." However, the men said their service would not be possible without the immense support from the Dubai government.

Adv Ibrahim Khaleel, secretary and legal centre chairman of the KMCC, was part of the gift distribution. He said: "Keeping our differences aside, all groups have been working together for the last two-and-a-half months. Most are not even worried about their own personal safety." Special cakes were also distributed to all volunteers. "They stopped to take pictures together and later went back to work till 2am," said Khaleel.

Paul T Joseph, a senior member at the AKCAF Volunteer Groups, said: "On Eid day, we provided fruit baskets to Dubai's field hospitals and some PHCs. These baskets were delivered to 1,600 Covid-19 patients. We are also thankful to the Community Development Authority (CDA), DHA and Dubai Police for their support."

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com 

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88


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