Fighting Covid-19: Charitable giving increases in UAE amid pandemic
In Abu Dhabi, the Authority of Social Contribution's (Ma'an) 'Together We Are Good' drive helped raise Dh438 million in funds.
Crisis has brought the best out of the pandemic-hit UAE community with numerous successful charity drives. Such acts give people a feeling of playing their part to limit the damage, experts from the New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) have said.
In the past few months, there have been tremendous responses from the community members towards the government initiatives to support the vulnerable and affected people. In Dubai, the '10 million meals' campaign exceeded its target within a week of its launch. In Abu Dhabi, the Authority of Social Contribution's (Ma'an) 'Together We Are Good' drive helped raise Dh438 million in funds and more than Dh600 million in-kind within 100 days.
"I think that people generally felt more connected by the collective danger we all found ourselves in and felt more solidarity and common humanity than ever before. Despite the fact that we had to stay apart to stay safe, this pandemic made us all feel more unified and appreciative of each other," said Dr Vedrana Mladina, counselling team leader at NYUAD.
She noted that humanitarian acts are important amid such trying times. "They definitely have a healing role. It's a chance to do something good in bad times. It's also a chance to have a bit of control over something positive in times of uncertainty and fear."
Talking about the psychological benefits of giving, Dr Vedrana said: "Giving others gives us meaning and makes us feel more useful and better about ourselves. It also serves as a positive distraction, a break from our own problems and concerns."
Encouraging others to give, she added: "Just start small and never stop."
Communities need to support charities
Charities need support as they have been stretched by the impact of the pandemic, says Suparna Mathur, director of community outreach at NYUAD.
"Work of charities is now needed more than ever to protect the vulnerable. No-profit organisations are heavily reliant on giving and Covid-19 has the potential to gravely impact the sector. Most charities depend on donations from individuals and businesses or rely on fundraising events, which are currently limited due to physical distancing regulations. For many charities, they will need to reimagine and innovate to survive," she said.
Suparna urged communities to continue their donations and even volunteer. "If you are able to volunteer your time, there are many ways you can do this virtually and safely. Skills-based volunteering such as expertise in finance or social media could make a huge difference to these organisations. We all have the ability to use our voice and influence to help, so even just advocating and sharing the impact of the work your favourite charities do can go a long way right now. Both charities and communities will need to rise to the occasion if we are to mitigate the risks of an unfolding humanitarian crisis."
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