Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 28 September 2020

UAE IN SPACE

Wishes by young humanitarians granted in UAE’s Mars Shot competition

The project was launched by the Emirates in support of the Hope Mars mission

Reina Ozbay, 11, wish to create a song that will raise funds against human trafficking will be granted. Courtesy: Mars Shot competition 
Reina Ozbay, 11, wish to create a song that will raise funds against human trafficking will be granted. Courtesy: Mars Shot competition 

A UAE initiative encouraging people around the globe to shoot for the stars is ready to make a trio of special dreams come true.

The Mars Shot UAE competition, launched in partnership with American comedian Kevin Hart last month, has announced three winners who will have their wishes fulfilled.

Inspired by the historic Mars Hope probe, the lofty goal was to show that ‘impossible is possible’, which is the Emirates’ motto.

A live streaming event was held on Instagram on August 5, where Hollywood star Hart announced the winners.

Entrants shared their wishes by posting one-minute videos on social media.

The chosen three all dared to dream big - but with the selfless aim of improving the lives of others.

It is not yet clear how much investment is going to be made in each of the projects.

Mentoring centre in Haiti

Williamson Sintyl, 27, miraculously survived the devastating 2010 earthquake in his home country of Haiti.

He shared his story virtually with Kevin Hart, where he also spoke of his goal of opening a mentor facility to help guide Haitians to a successful career path.

Williamson Sintyl's wish to open a mentoring centre in Haiti has been granted. Courtesy: Mars Shot competition 
Williamson Sintyl's wish to open a mentoring centre in Haiti has been granted. Courtesy: Mars Shot competition 

Mr Sintyl was 10-years-old when the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 230,000 people, injuring more than 300,000 and leaving millions displaced.

“My mom had picked me up from school that day and I was the only one who left early,” said Mr Sintyl, who now lives in the United States.

“I found out that all of my 25 classmates had died in the earthquake.”

Stuck under massive piles of the orphanage’s rubble, Mr Sintyl, his parents and the children were pulled out after 28 hours.

His survival inspired him to help his country men and women.

“I moved to the US five years ago to go to school, but Haiti never left my mind. I found the most amazing mentors, learned from so many different schools of thought, and changed my life,” said Mr Sintyl.

“I was given so many opportunities that helped me succeed. So, I searched for ways I could teach these same things and give more opportunities to my fellow Haitians.”

He and his wife launched the ‘Arise’ programme, where Haitians mentor people in their community.

With his wish being granted, it will help expand the project with a proper facility and tools - reaching more people in need.

Learning space for underprivileged children

Dolly Aswani, 24, has been working as a social worker in India for the past two years, offering educational services to impoverished children in rural villages.

She applied to the Mars Shot project so that she could build a learning space for these children, where they could acquire different sets of skills.

Dolly Aswani wants to create a learning space for underprivileged children in India. Courtesy: Mars Shot competition 
Dolly Aswani wants to create a learning space for underprivileged children in India. Courtesy: Mars Shot competition 

“I want the space to have basic computer sets and make them aware of how to use one through free courses, which in turn can help them secure more higher paying wages and good quality jobs,” said Ms Aswani.

“My city has thousands of educated and well-skilled professionals, students and people who can come forward and volunteer their time and skills to help us in uplifting the people who really need that education and skill sets.”

A song to fight against human trafficking

Reina Ozbay is an ambitious 11-year-old who wished to gather some of the world’s leading music stars, such as Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, to help her create a song for a humanitarian purpose.

She wants to raise awareness and funds for the fight against human trafficking.

“I’m 11 – I wish I didn’t know what human trafficking was, but I do,” she said.

“Realising that human trafficking happens daily – invisibly, but in plain sight, terrifies me and it should terrify the world.

Her wish is going to be granted, but it is not yet clear whether global music stars are going to be part of her project.

Updated: August 6, 2020 06:36 PM

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