The Takatof programme has volunteers of diverse nationalities and age groups Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Do you want to volunteer at this year’s National Day celebrations or at the F1 races in Abu Dhabi? Takatof is calling on the youth of the country to volunteer for its nationwide public, philanthropic and social events. Nationality and gender are no bar if you want to sign up for the activities which are held all year round.

Set up in 2007, the Takatof Programme for Social Volunteering is a nationwide initiative by the Ministry of Community Deve-lopment and Emirates Foundation with a mission to enhance civic engagement and responsibility in the UAE.

Volunteer.ae is Takatof’s online platform that facilitates access to volunteering opportunities with a smart gateway that connects participants with private and public sector entities.

Clare Woodcraft Scott, CEO of Emirates Foundation, said that the main aim of the programme is to involve the youth with their community. “We want to build their confidence and instil a sense of purpose that is not connected with paid employment,” she said.

Sign up to give back

The programme includes several community projects related to environment, special needs, support for elderly and orphans, among others.

In Pioneers’ Projects, volunteers are encouraged to come up with innovative volunteering ideas, and Takatof provides them with the necessary means to implement them. Ramadan Projects are conducted during the holy month with various activities aimed at instilling social responsibility among the youth.

Volunteer Essentials Certificate Training (TVEC) is an accredited training programme introducing youth to the essential pillars of volunteering.

Commenting on the success of this year’s Ramadan campaign Maytha Al Habsi, Deputy CEO at Emirates Foundation, said, “We were overwhelmed with the response of our youth – it exceeded our targets both in numbers and volunteering hours. They fully embraced their service mission and truly made it count with an open heart and the highest levels of commitment towards promoting the values, beliefs and most importantly the culture of volunteerism across the UAE.”

One of Takatof’s programmes is to train youth for emergency response. “Our SANID (meaning support in Arabic) emergency volunteer response programme allows youth to manage a crisis and be prepared to support the country in case of natural disasters,” said Scott. Takatof volunteers also get to play active roles in high profile events such as Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Gulf Cup Tournaments, New Year’s celebrations at the Burj Khalifa and the national parliamentary elections, among others. The UAE National Day projects are a special opportunity where volunteers engage in organising nationwide activities to express their loyalty to the country.

Registrations have already begun for these special projects and volunteers are encouraged to sign up for activities that suit their taste.

For more information or to sign up to be a volunteer call 800 825 2863

The writer is an Abu Dhabi-based freelancer