Santosh Gurung, a security guard from Nepal, during an audition at his workers' accommodation Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The grand finale of ‘Western Union Camp ka Champ’ (Champ of the Camp), the largest signing contest for blue-collar workers in the UAE, is scheduled for March 12, the organisers have said.

Now in its 15th year, the event continues to showcase and reward talent among the blue-collared community in the UAE. The auditions invited a mix of live, virtual and online entries, and over 2,000 entries were received to select the champ of camps, the organisers said on Wednesday. Over 25 companies, with 60-plus workers’ housing facilities, welcomed the organisers to conduct the auditions at their workers’ accommodations.

Rupa Vinod, managing director, Right Track Advertising, the organisers of the contest, said: “Celebrating 15 years of Camp ka Champ is indeed a proud moment for us. Despite the [COVID-19] pandemic, we launched the contest with the confidence, support and encouragement of the participating companies as well as the aspiring contestants who are ever so eager to sing for fun, to entertain or win hearts and money.”

She added that the event has been designed in such a way that “we could easily switch from live to virtual or online platforms depending upon the company’s request or the situation at hand”.

Hatem Sleiman, head of Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Western Union, said: “For years, it has provided a platform for many migrants in the country to showcase their abundant talent. The UAE is a land of hope for all migrants, where their dreams are built. While these migrants play a pivotal role in their contributions to this country and its success, they also make the sacrifice of staying away from their families and supporting them financially back home. With Camp ka Champ, we hope to put a smile on their faces by giving them an opportunity to follow their passion for singing, while also inspiring others.”

Camp ka Champ auditions
Workers during auditions for the contest Image Credit: Supplied


The first place winner will walk away with a cash prize of Dh30,000, exclusive gifts and the title of ‘Western Union Camp ka Champ Season 15’.

One of the contestants, Santosh Gurung from Nepal, a security guard, said: “I was happy to participate in Western Union Camp Ka Champ Season 15 auditions at my camp. This event is truly an incredible platform to recognise one’s skills and talent. I am really thrilled. Getting an opportunity to participate is like a blessing.”

Khalifa Mandin, from India, an electrician at Al Shafar General Contracting, said: “I participated in the Quarter Final round in February and the arrangements to make the show live were truly amazing. I was truly impressed with the selection of judges. This event brings joy into our lives and a great platform to connect with our brothers.”

According to Mohammad Waqas from Pakistan, who is employed in Berkeley Services, “Western Union Camp Ka Champ contest should be conducted every three months. I am participating in this contest for the first time. Camp Ka Champ has given me an opportunity to perform in front of my fellow residents. I have been short-listed for the Quarter Finals and am looking forward to qualify to the next round. To be a winner this season will be truly astounding.”

The organisers said more than 42,000 participants of 15 nationalities have benefited from the programme since 2007 and over Dh1.5 million in prize money was awarded till date.

The initiative, which was filmed as a documentary titled ‘Champ of the Camp’ in 2021, targets the blue-collar male workers, primarily South Asians, in the UAE.