UAE: Want to volunteer in Ramadan? Eligibility, penalties explained

Under the country's law surrounding volunteering, fines can range up to Dh100,000

by

Laraib Anwer

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KT Photo: Muhammad Sajjad
KT Photo: Muhammad Sajjad

Published: Fri 9 Feb 2024, 6:23 PM

Last updated: Fri 9 Feb 2024, 9:59 PM

With almost a month left for the Holy Month to begin, preparations usually kick off around this time. Apart from the glitz of the season with grand Iftars and family gatherings, there is also the spiritual aspect to it, that many start preparing for beforehand.

During Ramadan, other than fasting, Muslims from all walks of life pay heavy emphasis on various types of charity and helping the needy in any way possible. Volunteering has become a big part of this, as many initiatives take place during this time.

The UAE provides its citizens as well as expats with many opportunities to get out there and get involved in the community. While taking part in these volunteering activities, its crucial to know who is allowed to take part in them, as well how to steer clear of hefty penalties.

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Are you eligible?

Before venturing into volunteering options in the country, its important to know if you're eligible for it or not. As per UAE law, here is what qualifies one to get involved in volunteering initiatives:

  • The individual must be a citizen or resident in the UAE.
  • Volunteers must be 18 years and above. Depending on the policies of certain organisations, under 18 individuals may volunteer with the consent of their parents.
  • The individual must be of good character and conduct.
  • Participants must be medically fit for the volunteer work assigned to them.
  • Those who are looking to take up volunteering as a career need to get a license to practice.
  • Residents should first be registered before practising volunteer work.

Penalties to watch out for

There are certain rules and regulations to adhere to while volunteering in the UAE. With hefty penalties, here are the laws to keep in mind:

  • Punishments carried out under this law shall not prejudice to any more severe penalties stipulated by other laws.
  • It is prohibited to regulate any volunteer work inside or outside the UAE unless it is licensed. Anyone who violates this will be fined with a hefty penalty between Dh10,000 - Dh100,000.
  • Disclosing confidential information or data acquired during volunteering is against the law. Those who violate this will be punished with a fine ranging up to Dh30,000.
  • Anyone who raises funds related to volunteering purposes without the permission of the ministry will have to pay a fine of no less than Dh50,000.

Duties of a volunteer

Apart from basic qualities like punctuality, teamwork and following all instructions assigned to volunteers, it is important to note other obligations of a volunteer as per UAE law.

  • Volunteers must not offer, provide, promote or advertise any goods or services during the work period that are meant for financial benefits or personal earnings.
  • They must always return whatever was given on a trust basis after termination. This includes tools, equipment and devices.
  • Volunteers must be committed to the charter of the volunteer work, as well the laws defined by the country.
  • They must update their personal data as required.
  • Volunteers should preserve the property of the place.
  • They are required to notify the concerned authority upon suspending work.
  • Volunteers must follow all the security and safety regulations.

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