Bursting with energy, Pamela Abdalla is not one for sitting still. A glamorous mother of three and founder of several charity initiatives, the former lawyer and family court hearing judge has a passion for helping those less fortunate. From Pittsburgh in the US, Abdalla and her family have been living in Abu Dhabi for the past three years and have spearheaded many worthy projects in the UAE. "This community is a magnificent place to practise volunteerism as both locals and expats are phenomenally generous with their time, talents and treasures," says Abdalla. Working with local partners, her list of initiatives is inspiring: funding to assist in repatriations of domestic workers sheltered at the Filipino Resource Center safe house; Divine Desserts and Heavenly Handbags silent auction of designer handbags, which has become an annual date in every fashionista's diary; labour camp "bag drops" to provide labourers with necessary items; Worker Bus Raids, a fun event where students from local high schools, colleges and universities put together treat bags for workers and then surprise them with the goodies as they load up on buses outside the construction sites.
Her next charity initiative, the Festive Holiday labour camp party, is on December 9 at West Coast Ladies Labour Camp. Abdalla talks to Jemma Nicholls about her life and inspirations.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN... is from my parents, who constantly imbued in me the knowledge that if I work hard enough, I can do absolutely anything. MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR IS... my gorgeous three children - Alexandria, 16, Omar, 13, and Gabby, 5. WHAT DRIVES ME IS... the inspiration of working with those whom I try to help and the inspiration of collaborating with others on projects. FIVE WORDS TO DESCRIBE ME... optimistic, hard-working, persistent, caring, energetic. MY HEROES IN REAL LIFE ARE... the labourers who spend years here away from their families - they give up so much, work so hard and remain unembittered - they are always grateful for the smallest of kindnesses.