Mohammad Aquib Khan

I had a strange experience this month. I am part of a yoga class. It is a form of resistance training that primarily focuses on finding inner calm. Sounds wonderful, is wonderful. But, there is one problem - people.

People who seem to lack any civic sense. Poor hygiene, unnecessary aggression, political wars are all leading to my classmates behaving in a manner that would be the envy of any rowdy school yard. Shocking though it might sound, this seems to be a widespread issue - the lack of civic sense. And our diligent community reporters keep raising it every month. Hopefully, it will result in a change in mindset eventually. And peace might return to my yoga class.

First place this month goes to the report, “Such acts of gross insensitivity need to be stopped now”, by Mohammad Aquib Khan. It was published on January 30. An excellent piece of reporting it talks about people who park in spaces assigned for those with special needs. We’ve often seen it happen and it is, indeed, tragic that there are those who fail to respect others and the country’s rules. As the UAE strives to become as accessible as possible for people with special needs - it is part of the 2020 vision, we, as a people should do our bit, too.

Second place goes to the report, “Teach pupils to behave when on school buses”, by Neola Castelino, published on January 25. She raises a very important issue of child safety. Castelino talks about children not being properly seated, opening windows and leaning out of school bus windows. All of this is a recipe for disaster. Parents should warn their children about the dangers as often as possible and schools are responsible, too, to ensure that the right safety measures are implemented on board their buses.

Third place goes to the report, “Fully grown trees that have been abandoned need to be saved”, published on January 11. It was filed by Sarath Chandra G. This was an interesting one. He talks about a group of trees that looked like nobody was bothering to water or take care of in the Al Tawuun area. The matter was raised with Sharjah Municipality, who looked into it promptly. They found out that it was part of a private area and hence had no access to it but commended the reader for his sense of social responsibility. It, indeed, commendable because I am sure there were thousands of others that passed these trees every day but failed to register, let alone raise their plight. We hope that through this report, the owners are alerted and the trees will be given a much-needed lease of life. Our trees and plants are the lungs that help us breathe and are vital to our urban environments.

Are there similar issues in your communities? Write in and we’ll do our best to help raise the matter and find a solution.

Coming back to civic sense, it is what helps makes our communities a better place. Let us all strive to abide by it as much as possible.


First: Mohammad Aquib Khan

Published on: January 30

Mohammad Aquib Khan, a sales manager based in Abu Dhabi, raised the issue of motorists parking in spots designated to the disabled.

He said: “Community Reports is a good platform. People may not necessarily be aware of many things happening in society. We don’t hear about certain things or read about it in the main paper. When they read community reports, they get a lot of information in a concise manner. The reports add value to news.”

When asked about his report, Khan said: “My colleagues congratulated me for the report. Many people did not know that the fine for occupying parking spots reserved for physically-challenged people is Dh1,000. The report was informative and helped them a lot. They’re actually afraid of the fine now and will not park incorrectly.”

The reader has been based in Abu Dhabi for 17 years and his main topic of interest is management and helping people.

Second: Neola Castelino

Published on: January 25

Neola Castelino, a pupil based in Sharjah, raised the issue of the safety of pupils on school buses.

She said: “Community reports help readers know about the things that are happening around them. It could either be a small or big issue or an issue that matters to them, but isn’t shared in the main news. Thus, this platform provided by Gulf News proves to be an excellent way of conveying a message to the vast amount of readers.”

Castelino’s report was appreciated by his school mates, relatives and teachers. She has been a regular contributed to the community reports section and mainly focuses on environmental issues.

She said: “The responses that I receive from my friends and family are the reason I am encouraged to write more reports.”

Third: Sarath Gavini

Published on: January 11

Sarath Gavini, an electrical engineer, reported about abandoned trees in Sharjah that were dying due to the weather conditions.

He said: “Such a platform will encourage people of similar mindsets to come forward and make a difference. Sometimes, we may be not notice the issue unless someone points it out. Collaboration is key to success.”

Gavini has been in the UAE since June 2015 and loves nature. This is what inspired him to raise the issue.

—Profiles compiled by Rabab Khan/Community Interactivity Editor