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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

UAE Portrait of a Nation: Meet the Emirati mother who dedicates her life to volunteering

Taghreed Mohammed gave up teaching to spend her life supporting good causes

Taghreed Mohammed made it her life's mission to help others. Pawan Singh / The National
Taghreed Mohammed made it her life's mission to help others. Pawan Singh / The National

Taghreed Mohammed is not known as the "mother of volunteers" for nothing.

From providing aid at refugee camps to being part of a support team in the aftermath of the massive Address Downtown Dubai fire in 2015, the mother-of-four is someone to call upon in a crisis, or just when you need a helping hand.

The Emirati's passion for helping others was encouraged by her father and grew as she embarked upon a career as a teacher.

When she discovered her job was shackling her desire to volunteer, she retired from the classroom to dedicate herself to her calling full-time, soon winning her well-deserved moniker.

Taghreed, who lives in Sharjah, earned a bachelor's degree in the English language while studying in Pakistan before returning to the UAE to start teaching.

After leaving her first teaching post, she joined the Dubai Womens' Association, got married and started her family.

Not one to rest for long, she soon got the itch to get back into work.

Taghreed, 57, spent a decade working at schools in both Umm Al Quwain and Sharjah, but joining Al Falaj School in 2000 proved to be pivotal.

She became involved in charity work with the Emirates Red Crescent and has never looked back.

“I supervised the school’s Emirates Red Crescent team and that was a turning point for me,” she said.

She juggled school work and her busy home life with initiatives led by the organisation, even finding time to join other charities as the 'giving bug' proved too strong.

In 2003, she joined the Emirates Association for Volunteers in Sharjah, and two years later became a member of its board of directors.

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In 2007, she began volunteering for the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development and participated in many events held in the capital under the foundation’s Takatuf programme. Taghreed was later awarded by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed for being the best volunteer figure from Sharjah.

Taghreed joined the UAE's first national emergency-response volunteer programme, Sanid, in 2009 and trained to support responders in large-scale crises.

“I wanted to give more but my teaching job was restricting me,” she said.

In 2013, she decided it was time to focus fully on her charitable work.

Taghreed believes her passion for doing good comes naturally.

“I was inspired by our beloved prophet, by our leaders, and by my father.

"They all taught me that there is no satisfaction better than that which comes from helping others, and I try to teach my children what I was taught."

Even when her very life has been on the line, she has never thought of reducing her tireless schedule.

She fell into the sea when hosting a charity boating event, believing "that was it" as she plunged deep into the water.

She was saved by police who told her they didn't know how she made it out alive.

Undeterred, Taghreed remained determined to do all she could to help those effected by the Address Downtown Dubai fire.

“We helped evacuate the place when the fire broke out. We provided moral support, not only to the people who were there, but also to firefighters.

"We provided them with food and water, we collected left-behind and lost belongings and listed them. It was a challenge.”

For the past three years she helped programmes teaching illiterate Emiratis to read, visited refugee camps in Jordan, helped build mosques in Pakistan and Malaysia and supported deprived children pay school and college fees.

Taghreed also lectures about the importance of volunteering to students in the UAE and received awards for her efforts in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

It is no surprise that she has been dubbed the "mother of volunteers" by the community.

She has done so much - yet still has so much left to give.

Biography

Her family: She has four sons, aged 29, 27, 25 and 24 and is a grandmother-of-nine

Favourite book: Flashes of Thought by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

Favourite drink: Water

Her hobbies: Reading and volunteer work

Favourite music: Classical music

Her motto: I don't wait, I initiate

 

 

 

 

 

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