x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

UAE youth volunteer in Morocco

Emirati youths are reaching out to those less fortunate by travelling to Morocco as part of a charitable mission.

Emirati youths are reaching out to those less fortunate by travelling to Morocco as part of a charitable mission. Fifteen young people are volunteering at orphanages, hospitals and schools and with environmental projects as part of the initiative, Takatof, which translates as "shoulder to shoulder". Organisers say they want to create "a culture of volunteering" in the UAE by encouraging young Emiratis to give their time and support projects that help those in need.

Starting today and continuing until Aug 2, the volunteers will work cleaning beaches and renovating orphanages. They will also take part in projects at medical centres, including the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in the capital, Rabat. Maytha al Habsi, the director at Takatof, said the volunteers played a "crucial" role in helping disadvantaged communities and keeping the environment clean. "By addressing environmental preservation and by providing support for disadvantaged children, the Emirates Foundation and our partner Al Maabar are reaching out to communities in need of real support," she said.

"We strive to find opportunities to develop the spirit of volunteering - crafting local solutions and establishing critically needed programmes at home and abroad." The programme, which was organised by the Emirates Foundation, has been developed with the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sport and Al Maabar International Investments. Yousef al Nowais, a board member and the managing director of Al Maabar, "applauded and encouraged" the efforts of the young Emiratis.

"Their generosity and spirit is the glue that helps keep our communities together and vibrant. I give them my sincerest thanks," he said. The Emirates Foundation is a UAE-wide organisation, inspired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, that works with private- and public-sector partners to help with philanthropic projects related to environmental protection, education, culture and other fields.

The Takatof initiative was launched in April 2007, since when groups of volunteers have renovated a school, helped to organise a volleyball competition and taken part in beach clean-ups. @Email:dbardsley@thenational.ae