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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 February 2019

The [sameness] project stretches its We’ve Got Your Back initiative to offer a helping hand to labourers

Each day, the [sameness] project workers will carry out group training sessions with the labourers, run through stretches and give out care packs containing deep-heat rub to relieve aching muscles.
The We’ve Got Your Back project focuses on teaching simple stretches to relieve back pain. Courtesy the [sameness] project
The We’ve Got Your Back project focuses on teaching simple stretches to relieve back pain. Courtesy the [sameness] project

The social pioneers at Dubai’s the [sameness] project have been trying to lighten the load on workers through their We’ve Got Your Back initiative.

For the past year and a half, the group has been handing out booklets to taxi drivers containing suggestions for stretches that can be done to relieve back pain. Starting on Wednesday, February 11,, the [sameness] project team will deliver the same dose of empathy and advice to labourers.

The group plans to distribute printed booklets containing six simple stretches created by Grant Goes, a fitness professional and the founder of FitnessLink. The [sameness] project co-founder Jonny Kennaugh says: “We thought about the kinds of activity these guys do day in and day out and what would help their bodies wind down after a day on site. So one is a forearm stretch, because, whether they’re hammering or picking up heavy items, they’re using their arms a lot.

“We took photos for the booklet of Grant demonstrating the stretches, so even if they can’t understand English the guys will be able to understand.”

Each day, the [sameness] project workers will take two fitness trainers and translators with them to two Majid Al Futtaim building sites in Sharjah and Dubai. They will carry out group training sessions with the labourers, run through stretches and give out care packs containing deep-heat rub to relieve aching muscles.

“We found with the taxi drivers, they had a lot of really simple questions that they don’t have access to anyone to ask”, says Kennaugh.

He’s hoping the latest project will have the same impact as it did last year on taxi drivers such as the Bangladeshi Moshuir Rahman.

“I do the stretches in the morning and now I feel better than before. I feel it’s very helpful for a taxi driver. It can give us a more comfortable life and we can feel better forever. Thanks,” says Rahman.

The idea to focus on labourers was born last summer when the [sameness] project partnered with the Majid Al Futtaim group to bring together the company’s office workers with those building their residences. The office staff went to one of Majid Al Futtaim’s Deira City Centre building sites and gave the workers tea, care packages and post cards with “thank you” written in six different languages, on which the staff had added personal messages.

Jamal Shawish, 33, is a Palestinian leasing manager for Majid Al Futtaim Retail.

“I was certainly touched by the unexpected connections I made,” he said. The ‘workers’ I pass by became particular individuals with whom I shared laughs and now know a few by name. Hearing of their work environment directly from them made them, in my opinion, a key element towards making Dubai the city we know today.”

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: February 7, 2015 04:00 AM

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