DUBAI // Several local and international organisations in the UAE offer opportunities for volunteering to UAE national and expatriate students and professionals.
The UAE Red Crescent, for example, is always looking for volunteers to help with their various charity drives, or professionals such as doctors who can help the organisation in their respective fields of expertise.
The Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai encourages people to join them to help in their social initiatives. Their programme, Waleef, is targeted at senior Emirati citizens who live alone and require assistance to read papers and do their chores.
Cleaning beaches and assisting people with disabilities are also options. The International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai has several international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and UN agencies as members. Emiratis can register with Takatof, a national volunteering programme, to assist in various social projects, including hospitals and special-needs centres.
Volunteers can help renovate homes of disadvantaged families, refurbish schools, hospitals and special-needs centres by offering to paint, clean, and cultivate gardens. They can also sign up to do pro bono work in other countries.
Volunteer in Dubai has several ongoing initiatives. Their Aid in Motion programme regularly collects unwanted clothes for labourers. Events include blood donation drives, making soft copies of Arabic and English books to be converted into braille for the blind, and Funday Sunday are weekly outings organised for children with special needs.
"The opportunities are there for people," said Lola Lopez, Volunteer in Dubai's founder. "It is entirely driven by their desire to volunteer. The onus is on them. We post the requirements and the only prerequisite is a positive attitude and to be committed."
There is no age limit to volunteer.