Dubai: Emiratis have shared their experiences of volunteerism as the nation anticipates the winners of the UAE Pioneers Award 2017, which will be held on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.
The award is an initiative of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to honour Emiratis for their service to their nation and excellence in their fields.
Speaking to Gulf News, Emiratis shared their experience in volunteering for causes such as health and environment.
Plants are life, and what you do for the environment reflects on you, and has an impact on you.”
Shehab Ahmad Rabeiah
Environmental specialist at the Federal Environment and Water Authority
Shehab Ahmad Rabeiah, 40, recalled how he planted saplings and seeds during a “plantation week” held in March, organised by the Emirates Environment Group (EEG) in conjunction with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
“By taking part in the initiative as a volunteer, I felt I had achieved something good, and hopefully encouraged others to do the same. Plants are life, and what you do for the environment reflects on you, and has an impact on you,” said Rabeiah, an environmental specialist at the Federal Environment and Water Authority.
Rabeiah is also a member of Volunteers.ae, a nationwide platform to increase the volunteers base in the UAE, helping them match their skills with volunteer opportunities provided by the public and private sector.
“When you volunteer for a good cause, you feel a happiness inside you, even though you did not do it for your sake. That’s the beauty of volunteering — it brings out that happiness and spreads it.”
Habiba Al Marashi, chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), said: “We can proudly say that we have contributed significantly to the spread of the culture of volunteerism among the local and expatriate populations in the UAE and through it we have been able to highlight the universal appeal of environmental activism.”
We can proudly say that we have contributed significantly to the spread of the culture of volunteerism … in the UAE….”
Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson, EEG
As an example, Al Marashi mentioned the EEG’s Clean Up UAE and other campaigns related to recycling of aluminium cans as “mass events that offer excellent opportunities for volunteering”.
For Dr Shamsa Abdullah Ali Bin Hammad, volunteerism is one of her fondest childhood memories. “Ever since I was a child, I loved to help people and see them happy — this is the environment in which I was brought up. And this is what drove me to become a doctor,” she said.
Dr Shamsa is the chief operating officer at Medcare Women and Children Hospital. She is also an Aster Volunteer, which has a wide range of platforms from blood donation campaigns to working with Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Ever since I was a child, I loved to help people and see them happy — this is the environment in which I was brought up.”
Dr Shamsa Abdullah Ali Bin Hammad
COO at Medcare Women and Children Hospital
“During the past year, my deep involvement in Aster Volunteers programme, together with people from all walks of life, has reminded me that one does not need to be a doctor to save a life. Reaching out from the heart can touch and heal a heart,” she added.