x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Royal addition to volunteer team

Sheikh Hamdan is presented with ID card to promote cause.

DUBAI // The emirate's official volunteer programme has signed up its newest helper - Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Sheikh Hamdan yesterday received a special gold-plated ID card from the volunteers affairs section of the Community Development Authority while visiting its stand at an exhibition.

The VIP volunteer was allocated the ID number 02. Card number 01 is already held by his father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and the Ruler of Dubai.

Ahmad Al Bakhit, the section manager for volunteers, said he hoped Sheikh Hamdan's support would encourage others to volunteer.

"It'll encourage more Emiratis to participate in serving their community," Mr Al Bakhit said. "But volunteering with us is not only for Emiratis. We are here for locals and non-locals, for all the people who live in Dubai.

"The Government depends on the community. We are talking about empowerment, and empowerment is not just paying money to get services. Empowerment is how to improve your community."

The section was set up by the Dubai Government to promote awareness of volunteer work, encourage participation and provide training.

The organisation says volunteering enhances self-confidence, helps people to relax and encourages community spirit and cohesion.

"We have a lot of partners who provide us with opportunities for volunteers at their activities, events, conferences and exhibitions," said Mr Al Bakhit.

"We work with government entities, private entities and non-government organisations."

Sheikh Hamdan joined more than 800 volunteers who had registered with the section when he received his ID card at the Dubai Government Achievements Exhibition. Twenty-five of the volunteers are working at the show.

"We have five groups of volunteers here," said Mr Al Bakhit. "One group is working in the reception and VIP section, another in media registration and information, one is responsible for the whole exhibition, one is carrying out surveys and the fifth is working in the lecture hall."

Volunteer Mohammed Abdulrahman Ahli, 20, who is studying engineering at UAE University in Al Ain, said: "Volunteering is a great opportunity for me to improve my skills, gain more experience, see more people and help others."

Fellow volunteer Fatima Abdulnajid, 20, who is studying communications at Dubai Women's College, welcomed Sheikh Hamdan's involvement.

"I enjoy volunteering and participation because it gives me a lot of skills in my life," Ms Abdulnajid said.

The exhibition also runs today at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

csimpson@thenational.ae