x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Six places to volunteer this Ramadan

Here are six initiatives for those looking to roll their sleeves up and do some volunteer work during the Holy Month.

Volunteers distribute food packets to labourers at Al Amana camp in Al Quoz, Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
Volunteers distribute food packets to labourers at Al Amana camp in Al Quoz, Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National

Here are six ways to get involved by volunteering during the Holy Month.

Takatof

Takatof, meaning "shoulder-to-shoulder", is a programme led by the Emirates Foundation that focuses on helping low-income households in the UAE. During Ramadan, why not help renovate dilapidated houses and improve the living conditions of people in communities from Al Ain to Fujairah? Full details of locations and dates, along with the names and numbers of project team leaders, are available at www.takatof.ae or call 800-TAKATOF.

Zayed Giving Initiative

More than 50,000 people have joined the organisation since it was established in 2009 to provide volunteer work in sectors such as health, education and the environment. You can even get involved with the Kitab Bus project, one of the UAE's first mobile libraries. Launched by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage four years ago, the mobile reading room aims to promote culture and increase literacy in children by giving those in remote locations easy access to books. Visit www.abudhabi.ae or email zayedgiving@gmail.com.

Red Crescent Authority

With bases in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Red Crescent Authority (RCA) is well-known for its annual Ramadan Zakat initiatives. In Abu Dhabi, you can get involved in a number of ways, not least by helping distribute iftars. You can also donate Eid clothing to those less fortunate at RCA locations listed online or transfer money directly to the needy in more than 60 countries worldwide. Visit www.rcuae.ae or call 02 884 8144.

Volunteer in UAE

The group has several projects around Dubai this summer, but the Karama Kanteen initiative is the focus in Ramadan. The programme began in 2008, when volunteers would prepare, cook and distribute meals to blue-collar workers residing in the Karama area of Dubai. During Ramadan, residents are urged to sponsor an iftar meal for labourers by signing up for a deal with www.dealgobbler.com. Each Dh32 voucher will help provide iftar for two workers in the Al Quoz, Sonapur and Sharjah camps.

Volunteer in UAE will also need help packing and distributing the sponsored meals. The group distributed more than 35,000 meals in 2012 and hopes to serve up about 54,000 this year. To sign up, visit vwww.volunteerinuae.com. More information about Karama Kanteen can be found at www.karamakanteen.org.

Animal Action

Summer is a trying time for animal welfare groups left with abandoned pets and strays. During Ramadan, Animal Action needs helpers to foster pets or run errands such as picking up food packets or transporting dogs and cats to new homes or the vet. The group, which is run by three animal lovers, posts requirements on www.facebook.com/AnimalActionAbuDhabi. It can also be contacted via animal.action@hotmail.com.

The Sameness Project

The idea behind this group's work is to create a sense of commonality and to provide meet points for people who have a lot and people who are less fortunate. The Sameness Project hosts several online and community events to help improve the living conditions of those in need.

The Sameness team needs volunteers to hand out water bottles and thank-you notes printed in six languages on handkerchiefs to workers toiling away in the sun. The next event is on August 10. The group is also working with certified fitness trainers to teach taxi drivers exercises to relieve physical and emotional stress. More information about the projects can be found at www.thesamenessproject.com.

artslife@thenational.ae

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