DUBAI // In the art room at Dubai International Academy (DIA) students draw colourful images of hearts, squares and wrestlers.
The youngsters are taking part in Drawings by Me, which is a project founded more than a year ago that puts a creative twist on the old concept of school bake sales.
Children's drawings can adorn bookmarks, notebooks, calendars and greeting cards to be sold - mainly to the artists' parents - to raise money for good causes.
"If you ask a child what something means, they have their own interpretation … every drawing is a story," said Lilian el Yordi, who founded Drawings by Me. "Children are being creative when they draw, and parents have an emotional connection to their child's work."
Mrs el Yordi said that since she started the effort in December 2009, eight schools, six nurseries and one art centre had become participants. Each school determines its fund-raising beneficiary, and how much money it wants to raise.
Fund-raising figures differ for schools depending on how much they sell, but a sample pricing structure offered on the organisation's website shows that a school can raise as much as Dh35,000.
Some schools have donated the money they raise to local charities and others have used the proceeds for school initiatives.
Each item comes complete with the young artist's name and age. "The children are proud when they see their name on a product," said Mrs el Yordi, who is from Venezuela. "As parents, every year we see how our kids have grown and the progress they are making. "It is a blast seeing the art that the children make. The kids get creative with drawings of the Burj al Arab, eagles, the desert, lions or monsters."
Jenine Santalucia, a Grade 3 teacher at DIA from Australia, said children also learn how to have a positive impact on the world around them.
"The children feel proud of their work, and it teaches them social responsibility," she said.
Josh Berry, an eight-year-old who attends DIA, said he wanted his whole family to use the tumbler that bears his creative work.
"I'm drawing clouds and lightning," he said.
"We are going to give the money to those who work hard and are short of money."