Dubai: Rehabilitation of Gulf returnees, skill development of aspiring migrants, and socio-economic issues faced by Malayali expats, especially women, will be addressed at a two-day Dubai summit of overseas Keralites, organisers said on Wednesday.

The first Middle East Regional Conference of the Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS), a global platform for more than 3.5 million Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) across the world, will be held in Dubai’s Etisalat Academy on February 15 and 16, organisers said at a press conference.

The Chief Minister of the south Indian state, Speaker of the state’s legislative assembly, Chief Secretary and other senior bureaucrats, will attend the sessions along with around 200 members of LKS from various countries.

“Almost 65 LKS members are from this region, with the UAE having the highest representation of around 25,” said O.V. Musthafa, chief coordinator of the LKS regional event in Dubai.

He said the two-day event will discuss key issues like changing scenarios of migration and social development of overseas Keralites.

Rehabilitating the expat Malayalis returning home and providing adequate skill support for the young generation to match the employment opportunities abroad, especially in this region, will be among them.

“We need to see how we can create more facilities for migration by providing training for skill development whether through change in the syllabus or through short courses,” said Musthafa, who is also a director of NORKA Roots, a public sector undertaking under the Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs Department (Norka) of the Kerala government.

The seven standing committees of LKS are looking at various socio-economic challenges faced by overseas Keralites, expat women in particular, he said.

The Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is expected to make announcements about welfare projects for NRKs and also present the government’s recommendations for the developmental issues of NRKs with focus on this region that has one of the largest number of Keralites. More than one million Keralites live in the UAE alone.

K.L. Gopi, another coordinator of the LKS event, said LKS have representatives from all walks of life starting from housemaids and grocery salesmen.

“This platform works beyond political divisions of Malyalis. Leaders of opposition parties and expats supporting them have also offered full support for the event aimed at addressing the overall development of Kerala and its overseas citizens,” he said.

Cultural Fest

Around 15,000 Keralite expats are expected to take part in a “Rebuild Kerala” cultural festival that will be held as part of the event.

Buses are being arranged to transport up to 15,000 Malayali expats from various emirates for the cultural festival, said Musthafa.

“The CM will address the public at 6pm, following which the cultural festival showcasing the heritage of Kerala with a focus on rebuilding Kerala [post the deluge last year] will be held.” The cultural show will be led by Dubai-based Malayalam actor-cum-dancer Asha Sarath, who is also a LKS member.