Shaikh Nahayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance, handing over the Most Aspiring Employee of the Year Award to Mohammad Haseebur Rehman. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

Dubai: Young Pakistani field helper in UAE Mohammad Haseebur Rehman could never imagine that learning English will change his fate.

Rehman’s salary was tripled after he got promotion within the company only because he started communicating in English after he attended weekend courses offered by Smart Life – a non-for profit Dubai based foundation that provide free weekend English classes to blue-collared workers.

Rehman was taken aback when he was called on the stage to receive the ‘Most Aspiring Employee of the Year’ award from Shaikh Nahayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance. He shared the stage with top businessmen, entrepreneurs and professionals who were also given awards in their respective fields.

“When I came to Dubai in November 2017 as a field helper, I realised that I need to learn English to climb the ladder of success and fortunately a team of Smart Life came to my company Averda Environment Services and offered us to attend free English language classes,” Rehman told Gulf News on the sideline of the award ceremony organized by the PEOPLE (Pakistani Executives Organization for the Promotion of Leadership and Entrepreneurship). It is a Dubai-based voluntary, not-for-profit associated dedicated to promote excellence and entrepreneurship within the Pakistani diaspora living outside Pakistan.

Dubai based worker Haseebur Rehman changed his life after learning English. Ashfaq Ahmed, Associate Editor, Online

“Some 33 people from my company joined the course but only four of them are left now as it is quite demanding to attend the two-hour class every Friday which is the only off day for us,” he said.

But Rehman was determined to learn the language and he has been attending the classes every Friday for the last one and half year.

“I worked hard with the help of my teachers and continue to learn the language. My company officials promoted me after they noticed that I started conversation in English. I am really grateful to them,” he said, adding: “I never thought that learning English will help change my life to this extent.”

Before coming to the UAE, Rehman worked at his father’s grocery store in Lahore but he always dreamt big and decided to come to Dubai in a bid to move forward in his life. “My salary was Dh900 when I joined here but I stayed positive and now salary is Dh3000 and it happened within one and half year,” said Rehman with a broad smile.

Rehman’s future plans are to complete his graduation and set up his own business.

Speaking on the occasion, Kashif Khan, founder and president of PEOPLE, said that the event was held to acknowledge leaders and entrepreneurs who are not only visionaries but also executed something meaningful. “We have also taken initiative to empower blue-collar workers and create opportunities for young entrepreneurs. The time has come to convert Pakistan’s challenges into opportunities as it enters into a revolutionary phase with better governance, accountability and patronage,” he added.

Danish Rizvi’s speech

Danish Rizvi, head of Dubai Chapter of PEOPLE, said: “We are in the business of transforming brilliant ideas into reality, and empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs worldwide.”

“we always keep in mind that every individual is a global citizen, a person who has distinct origins but with dreams and aspirations that are not just anchored to one part of the world”


Shaikh Nahayan also gave awards to a number of businessmen and entrepreneurs who excelled in their fields. Lifetime achievement award was given to Haji Mohammad Iqbal, Chairman of ARY Group and Nabila Maqsood was awarded for the Leadership in Women Empowerment.

Shaikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan hands over the Lifetime Achievement Award to Haji Muhammad Iqbal. Also seen are Ahmed Amjad Ali, Consul General of Pakistan in UAE and Kashif Khan, Deputy CEO-Board Member of Abwab Capital. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

CEO of Dubai Cares Tariq Al Gurg was given award under the category of Humanitarian Contribution while Executive Vice President – FinTech Hive at DIFC Raja Al Mazrouie got Contribution to FinTech in the UAE award. Philanthropist of the Year award went to Hikmat, a prominent social worker and business woman. CEO of the Year award was given to Maaz Shaikh, CEO of the entertainment company Starz Play.

Shaikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance handing over thePhilanthropist of the Year Award to Hikmat, also seen Ahmed Amjad Ali, Consul General of Pakistan in UAE. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News