100 boxes of stationery collected for region's needy schoolkids
UAE Pencilman K. Venkatraman with stationery cartons to be given to needy children across the region. - Supplied photo
Dubai - The collection started almost a month ago, when the announcement was made on social media and via radio.
Around 100 boxes of stationery were collected from across the UAE, thanks to a Year of Tolerance donation drive that brought together schools, firms, charities and communities. These supplies will be distributed in various schools in need and refugee camps across the region.
It was a project led by Engage Dubai, the CSR arm of Dubai Chamber, along with Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) and the UAE's pencilman K. Venkatraman, who is fondly called Venkat. The drive was also part of Engage Dubai's Give and Gain Week 2019, a volunteering initiative where they encourage companies to take up some initiative that will benefit society.
"This is our annual event under the umbrella of Red Crescent and community partner Engage Dubai, aiming to support around 25,000 children in local charity schools, as well as schools in other war-torn areas and refugee camps in the region. We have kept the collection drive ongoing because we believe charity is happiness and service to the society, therefore it should not have a deadline," said Venkat.
The collection started almost a month ago, when the announcement was made on social media and via radio. People from different parts of the UAE heeded the call for donations.
Bringing cartons full of stationery, schools, companies and individuals recently trooped to the ERC headquarters in Al Garhoud. Boxes of notebooks, drawing books, pencils, erasers, school bags, crayons, sharpners, glue, scissors and calculators were dropped off at the office.
Barkha, a social worker and storyteller who collected around 13 to 15 boxes of stationery items from her community, said: "When I look at my children, I think of how we take care of their needs and wants. And then I think about the other needy children of the world who can barely get the basic necessities of life.
"So, whenever Venkat organises such drives, I mobilise people in my community and on my phone contact list and pass on the message. Due to the authentic source, people are sure their stuff will be given to the right people and this is why they turn up in huge numbers to donate for this cause. This shows that if everyone contributes just a little, then a droplet can turn into an ocean."
A Grade 9 student from Leader's Private School, Sharjah, Sidharth Vaddezhath, was also present at the event, bringing a couple of boxes on behalf of his school.
"I spoke about the collection drive at our school assembly and managed to collect donations from Grade 6 to Grade 9 students. Since it's the beginning of a new academic year, I thought they may have some surplus stationery items. In just two days, they donated in large numbers," Vaddezhath said.
Every year, Venkat and his team of volunteers have set a target to provide about 100,000 children across the globe with stationery items. In addition, Venkat's Education4all.info supplies underprivileged kids with storybooks, uniforms and toys, among others, throughout the year, under the umbrella of the ERC.