From left: Aisha Kelaif, Jyoti Mansukhani and Aruna Shamkuwar. Image Credit: Karen Dias/Oliver Clarke/Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News

The sound of a screeching tyre braking a little too late, the smell of neglected, week-old rubbish or the sight of baby turtles, skittering through the sand to a wide sea.

Our senses are constantly assailed with a myriad of interesting things — but only a few think of sharing it with others.

The newspaper recognises community reporters who raise their voices on issues they feel are important, relevant and that require immediate attention.

Today, we acknowledge and award those who have shared their experiences and brought significant matters to the forefront during the month of April.

Over the past year, the Your Turn page's Community Report section has highlighted numerous subjects that have concerned residents and helped alert the authorities on matters that needed urgent attention. Topics that were explored ranged from incorrect parking to a home-grown community of yoga enthusiasts. Readers have found Community Reports as a useful platform to create awareness and turn the spotlight on situations that generate interest and truly impact on people's lives.

Raising important questions, seeking answers from the relevant authorities and highlighting social issues take effort. And community reporters do not hesitate to prod and poke, if it has a chance of making a real difference. The Community Reports published in April were judged by Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed. The criteria for selection included content, issue, impact on community, responsibility and the quality of contribution.

The Winners

Teaching children about pets is crucial
April 21
By: Aisha Kelaif

Reason for selection:
Allowing children to experience first-hand the companionship and joy of animals is a gift that can help them become more aware of animal welfare. The community reporter said she opened the doors of her home for this reason — a laudable act, according to our judge.

Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed said: “We seem to be seeing an increasing awareness among people about issues related to animal cruelty. This is good, for a community is truly known by the way it treats its animals. We should encourage young people to understand animals and respect them.”

Profile:
Aisha Kelaif is the founder of Dubai Animal Rescue Centre, in Dubai.
With over 215 rescued animals in her Al Barsha home, Aisha felt awareness about how to treat animals is much needed.
She said: “Education is very important, especially for children. When they learn that they must be compassionate and kind towards animals, they grow up to become kinder, more responsible adults. Animal welfare is a huge issue and this is a good way to bring it to people’s minds.”

Drivers careless with children
April 20
By: Jyoti Mansukhani

Reason for selection:
The community reporter’s photograph of a child pressed against the rear windshield of a car is a shocking indication of the lack of attention most people pay to child safety.
Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed said: “This issue is raised repeatedly but we keep seeing appalling displays of child safety in vehicles. Something needs to be done, as young lives are being endangered. We should all make individual efforts to spread awareness.”

Profile:
Jyoti Mansukhani is a student of Manipal University, Dubai.
She said she has not seen such a dramatic case of negligence since, and thinks community reports are a good way to prevent such incidents from recurring.
The community reporter said: “Community reports act as mediators to development discussions and forums. The newspaper subliminally evokes altruistic qualities in people who don’t find it necessary to be journalists to contribute to the society.
“I hope to see the impact of my report in the long run, too.”

Just a little love is all it takes
April 14
By: Aruna Shamkuwar

Reason for selection:
In a world where we are often caught up in our own daily joys and troubles, sparing the time to spread good will in others’ lives is admirable.
Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed said: “Bringing a smile to the less fortunate is a joy that all of us can share in. The effort by mothers is commendable and should be supported by as many as possible.”

Profile:
Aruna Shamkuwar is a homemaker, based in Dubai.
What started as one person’s drive to provide food and beverages to construction workers has now grown into a weekly initiative, involving dozens of volunteers.
The community reporter said: “We have got tremendous response from Gulf News readers and construction site staff — they are taking initiative in this good cause by contributing both their time and money. Over the past month, we have been able to serve food to 2,200 workers!”