Premi Mathew Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Small efforts can make an immense difference. And no one knows this better than our community reporters.

Top three reports:

  1. Horror as mother drives car with child on lap
  2. Students in mammogram drive
  3. Emirati walks across seven emirates

The newspaper recognises community reporters who raised their voice on issues that they felt were important, relevant and required immediate attention.

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

Over the past year, the Community Report section of the Your Turn page has highlighted myriad subjects that concerned residents and helped alert the authorities about matters that required urgent attention.

Topics that were explored ranged from the need for more recreational spaces in residential areas to bad driving etiquette.

Readers have found the Community Report section to be the right platform to create awareness and turn the spotlight on situations that generate interest and truly impact on their 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 in their communities.

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

Writing tips 

  • Save string: For big projects, save scraps others would toss.
  • Limit self-criticism in early drafts: Turn it loose during revision.
  • Learn from your critics: Tolerate even unreasonable criticism.

Source: Poynter.org

First Prize

Horror as mother drives car with child on her lap

June 25

By: Mohammad Asif

Reason for selection: The community reporter was able to reveal an alarming reality through a single photograph. The image showed a mother driving with a child on her lap and caught the attention of the judge and readers alike.

Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed said: "A good community report highlighting an extremely serious issue — one that the authorities have repeatedly tried to raise awareness about."

Profile: Mohammad Asif is a businessman based in Dubai.

According to the reader, many motorists are careless about the safety of their children when driving.

He said: "Community reports are a good platform to raise awareness about such issues. Sometimes we make mistakes that we don't realise and it only hits us when someone else points it out."

Second Prize

Students in mammogram drive

June 19

By: Premi Mathew

Reason for selection: Powerful changes can happen when the youth comes together. In this case, the focus was to get students to encourage their mothers to do a mammogram or self-exam in order to detect breast cancer early.

Senior hub editor, Meher Murshed, said: "A great initiative done in a manner that would reach and impact more people. Hopefully, other institutions will be inspired to follow suit."

Profile: Premi Mathew works at the American College of Dubai.

She drives the ‘Protect your Mom Campaign', which has gathered a following on social networking websites such as Facebook.

She said: "Once cancer spreads, it is fatal, but very few women know that even a five minute self-exam, which costs nothing, could possibly help detect cancer early and help save their lives."

Third prize

Emirati walks across seven emirates

June 9

By: Fadhel Khouri

Reason for selection: The community reporter's personal quest to walk across the seven emirates ended triumphantly in March, and then for a second time in June.He did it out of love for his country and to prove that anything is possible.

Senior hub editor Meher Murshed said: "This community report conveys the need to understand where we come from, for our roots help us develop and grow as a community."

Profile: Fadhel Khouri is a senior general services officer living in Abu Dhabi.He said: "I am mesmerised by the effect of my community report on the public. Many people that didn't agree with my dream are now willing to take part in some of my future treks."He said the platform was perfect for sharing such stories. "I believe that community reports help in sharing our hopes and dreams with one another and bringing the community closer together."