Ajay Katyal, C.K. Kumar and Firdos A. Poonawala Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

It takes a brave, dedicated and vocal person to bring about change.

This month our community reporters gave their time to making their communities a better place. Whether it was by raising awareness about the lack of worker safety, promoting youth enterprise or giving back to the less fortunate, they showed us that they are aware of their surroundings and willing to do what is needed to bring about change.

The newspaper recognises that it takes effort and a passion for one's community to identify and raise issues from everyday life and bring about change. Hence, we appreciate the attempts by our readers to help make their communities a better place to live in.

Today we award the reporters who shared their experiences in January and encouraged others to come forward and bring their issues to the forefront.

The community reports published in January were judged by Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed. The criteria for selection included content, issue, impact on community, responsibility and quality of the contribution.

Vary the lengths of paragraphs.

  • Go short or long — or make a "turn" — to match your intent.
  • Choose the number of elements with a purpose in mind.
  • One, two, three, or four: Each sends a secret message to the reader.
  • Read for both form and content.
  • Examine the machinery beneath the text.
  • Learn from your critics.
  • Tolerate even unreasonable criticism.

Source: Poynter.org

Safety gear must be mandatory
January 13
By: Ajay Katyal


Profile: Ajay Katyal is a sales manager based in Sharjah. Shocked by the number of construction workers not wearing safety equipment, Katyal wrote to Gulf News to ask site supervisors to better educate their workers on the importance of safe working practices to prevent injury.

He said: "I do believe that Gulf News' Community Reports are a great educative initiative. They are indeed useful and beneficial towards the collective good of society and the community."


Reason for selection:  You can't stop progress, but you can ensure that those helping that progress along are safe as they do so. This community report helped raise awareness about the lack of safety measures being taken when it comes to construction workers and called on companies to better educate their workers on the risks of not protecting themselves.

Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed said: "A look at the picture makes one dizzy, and yet there is a scant regard for safety. Stricter action is required to stop this irresponsible habit."

Your carelessness is taking lives
January 20
By: C.K. Kumar


Profile: C.K. Kumar is a Dubai-based engineer. Becoming more and more saddened each time he came across a camel eating garbage on the side of the road, Kumar decided to lend his voice to the cause. He stressed the need to educate people on how their actions affect the environment and encouraged the authorities to impose a fine on anyone who continues to litter.



Reason for selection: Driving down a road with no gas station or garbage bin is no excuse for tossing your garbage onto the side of the road. C.K. Kumar raised a valid point in his report when he called on manufacturers of plastic containers and water bottle label makers to better educate the public on how to properly dispose of their products and the effects that not doing so has on the environment.

Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed said: "A spectacular picture by the reader says it all. This issue is raised time and again, but the practice of disposing rubbish in the desert continues."

Damaged barrier poses risk to the public
January 27
By: Firdos A. Poonawala


Profile:Firdos A. Poonawala is a sales manager based in Dubai.

Seeing the potential danger of a broken barrier along the Dubai Creek, Poonawala called on the authorities to mend the barrier as soon as possible. He also stressed that "children have a limited perception of risk and could easily find themselves in a dangerous situation" and warned parents that they need to take precautions to ensure their children's safety.


Reason for selection: When summer releases its suffocating hold most people flood out of doors to places like the Dubai Creek. Firdos Poonawala's community report highlights the constant risk visitors face due to damaged and missing barriers.

Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed said: "The Dubai Creek is a place which is frequented by families with children. The authorities must repair the barrier — an accident is waiting to happen."