Dubai: A newly launched initiative called ‘Tarmeem,’ will take on several community development projects during 2017, starting with the restoration and refurbishment of the Manar Al Iman Charity Private School in Ajman later this month.

The initiative by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai along with Omniyat, a Dubai-based developer, is in line with the ‘Year of Giving’ in the UAE.

Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED, and Mahdi Amjad, Board Director and CEO of Omniyat Properties Group, signed an agreement on the restoration project on Sunday, which will see contribution from 19 private sector entities.

Tarmeem, which means ‘restore or refurbish’, aims to provide quality education and amenities to children with little or no financial means. The first phase of the initiative will transform the Ajman school, meant primarily for orphans and children from low-income families, into a modern facility.

“Under this initiative, we are working with the DED to create an ecosystem and platform for the restoration of charity schools in the UAE. The renovations will include everything from the façade of the school, decorating the lobbies, upgrading the playgrounds, and a complete refurbishment of the nurseries, to working on air conditioning and cooling systems, desks and equipment as well as computer equipment,” Amjad told Gulf News.

The refurbishment, which will take just under a month to complete, will also include the complete restoration of 22 classrooms, construction of a brand new playground, new windows and doors throughout, and full installation of air-conditioning, among other improvements.

Al Qamzi said ‘Tarmeem’ represents a collaboration in fulfilling social responsibility, particularly between the public and private sectors as well as volunteers.

“We chose this restoration programme in view of its significance in three vital areas — namely, consolidation of social responsibility in the private sector, support education, and promotion of voluntary work among community members,” added Al Qamzi.

He pointed out that after an initial visit to the school, the DED decided to carry out a renovation project using their knowledge and expertise. “We put a plan together for a refurbishment to help breathe life back into the school. Since planning started, we have been overwhelmed by the support and interest we receive from our partners,” he said.

Mariam Al Afridi, Director, Government Communication at DED, also told Gulf News that while there are 95 volunteers taking part on the project from within the DED, the doors are open to the public. “We ask volunteers be very open and frank with us about their skills and capabilities. We will be assessing them and signing them up based on their skills to do different jobs at the school that will each have requirements to be completed per hour,” she explained. Al Afridi said the DED considers the year of giving a chance to come up with different way to give back to the society.

The Manar Al Iman School for Charity was founded by His Highness Shaikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman, in 1984. The school offers free education from grade 1 to 12 in two shifts to more than 3,500 underprivileged children of 36 nationalities. The school supports 500 of its orphan students by arranging sponsorships. Over 10,000 secondary students have already graduated from the school.