How an expat juggles community service and 9-5 job


How an expat juggles community service and 9-5 job
Abdulbasit Nsubuga, president of the Ugandan community in the UAE

Abu Dhabi - Nsubuga dedicates most of his free time to community work and helping people.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Fri 25 Oct 2019, 11:06 PM

Last updated: Sat 26 Oct 2019, 8:45 AM

Serving the community alongside your daily routine job is no mean feat, especially if you're living in a foreign country. But a Ugandan expat in the UAE never runs out of time, energy and passion for both.
Abdulbasit Nsubuga, 37, president of the Ugandan community in the UAE, said what amuses him most is seeing his people happy. He dedicates most of his free time to community work and helping people. "Serving the Ugandan community is something very special to me. They are my second family," said Nsubuga, a father of four who works at courier firm Aramex as a sales and customer service supervisor.
"I have a busy schedule at work, but I have dedicated Wednesdays and Fridays for the community work. I also serve the community during evenings.
"Many young men and women come here to work and provide for their families back home. And it's good for them to have an organised community with leaders whom they can go to for guidance or whenever they have problems."
Over the years, the Ugandan community in the country has grown to about 70,000, according to their embassy in Abu Dhabi. "I have been the leader of the Ugandan community for two years now, and I thank God that with my team, we have tried to unite most of the hearts of Ugandans and steer them towards common objectives," said Nsubuga.
From spearheading social events, such as get-together dinners and barbecue parties, to arranging sports activities like football games, Nsubuga and community representatives from various emirates have been able to unite Ugandans who now consider the UAE their second home. "We have Ugandans living and working in all the seven emirates but, at least, we have tried to reach out to everyone by visiting them or organising various events that bring them together," said the expat who holds a degree in education and Islamic theology and serves as a part-time researcher.
Living away from home is challenging for many, so Nsubuga and his group have made it their mission to guide their community along the way. "In our meetings with members of the community, we try to educate them about the UAE laws, the importance of being law-abiding individuals, being disciplined, hard-working and the need to save so they can prepare for their future."
The team has been known as people to turn to during difficult times. In several instances, Nsubuga and his committee members have received Ugandan women, especially the housemaids, who ran away from their employers because of abuse.
In coordination with the Ugandan embassy, they find a place for them to stay as they reach out to their employers to release their passports and go back home. "We also handle issues of our fellow members who passed away, chase documents, and help repatriate their bodies," he said.
They have also been doing their part to strengthen ties between the UAE and Uganda.Recently, leaders of the Ugandan community in UAE, in partnership with the Ugandan embassy in Abu Dhabi, organised a successful business convention in Dubai. "The two-day convention, which was followed by Uganda Independence celebrations, aimed at exploring business opportunities for our people so they can invest their savings back home and to promote trade and tourism," he said.

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