Muscat: A young Arab expatriate girl’s empathy for toiling construction workers of Muscat has now turned out to be a major — I-Care Initiative — with the social media spreading the word.
The I-Care Initiative started with young Jordanian Shorooq Abu Nasser’s personal aims to distribute cold water for workers during the summer.
“On my way to college one day last summer, I saw construction workers trying to avoid scorching sun by staying under a tree during their lunch break, the sight touched my heart to the core,” Shorooq told Gulf News.
“That was the moment, the sight of workers made me decide to do something personally to show my own appreciation for their hard work.”
Shorooq got a box of cold water and handed over to the workers. “The smile on their face when I handed over the cold water box moved me so much that I had tears in my eyes,” the 23-year-old business administration graduate said.
“There’s no better pleasure then to see a smile on the face of a worker sweating it out in intense summer so we get better roads and houses,” believes the soft-spoken young Jordanian.
That was the beginning and Shorooq, who had worked for student organisation AIESEC in Oman, decided to share her feelings about the workers and the experience of giving them cold water.
“I started a page I-Care Initiative on Facebook and a Twitter handle with the same name to spread the word among like-minded people in Muscat,” she said. Today nearly 600 people have joined the Facebook page and it is growing.
Not only that, unassuming Shorooq’s initiative has received support from authorities as well as from the corporate entities. “We have got official sanction from the Social Welfare Ministry and the Royal Oman Police (ROP),” she pointed out.
The initiative is gradually growing. “We started with distribution of 300 bottles and now we aim to distribute over 2,000 bottles of cold water mainly to construction workers in the city,” Shorooq enthused just before taking off for the fifth distribution day from the Wattayeh grounds on Thursday
“I-Care experience has made me a better person,” she reckons. However, they distributed 4028 cold water bottles.
When the Facebook page crossed 100 “likes”, Shorooq decided to take another step in the direction of expanding I-Care from personal effort to involving the others.
“Now the group has grown and we have formed teams with 10 team leaders,” she said as the I-Care team continued the process of registering volunteers, mostly youngsters and assigning them colour-coded groups.
She also pointed out that it was really heartening to see more and more youngsters, including a large number of Omanis, joining in the campaign. “It is good to know that youngsters have responded whole heartedly to the initiative,” she said.
Shorooq said that the passion shown by the youth to distribute cold water was really encouraging.
“As the initiative is getting bigger and bigger, many more people are getting involved, the biggest sustaining factor is that most of the volunteers who have showed up for one event keep coming back and bringing more people,” she pointed out.
Also, the young crusader added, the companies who have been involved are now moving from donations to actually bringing their employees and participating.
According to her, the idea behind I-Care initiative is to keep it as simple as it is, to create awareness and to motivate people to give away water bottles whenever they can and wherever they are.
“We do not generate any profits from our events and we are not currently approaching companies to sponsor the initiative, but we do get a lot of personal donations from those who can’t attend as well as requests to involve people working in certain companies for the charity work.” The group spends donations in buying cold water.
Shorooq hopes that people would take up this noble cause and quench thirst of workers, who help us built infrastructure in the city, whenever and wherever possible.
Caption: Shorooq Abu Nasser (with a megaphone) addressing the group before the start of cold water distribution at the Wattayeh grounds.
Volunteers gear up for the water distribution as mercury in Muscat climbed above 42 degree Celsius.
Pictures Sunil K. Vaidya