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Archive for the ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ Category

The month of giving

In Social Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized on August 11, 2012 at 10:42 am

The month of Ramadhan is when Muslims all over the world fast. It is a month of meditation, spirituality and a greater focus on doing good. In Dubai, I have witnessed, and been inspired by, many ordinary individuals who go out of their way to help others and specially those less fortunate. Some have made it their personal goal to change the lives of others for the better and work for that all year round. In Ramadhan though, there is always a spike in the generosity of people giving to those less fortunate. Here are some of my favourite places to volunteer and also a couple of new ones that I have spotted in the city:

  1. Saher Shaikh is truly an inspirational woman. She founded AdoptACamp which was born out of 1 act of kindness and is now helping over 32,000 men!
    AdoptACamp Care Package Night

    AdoptACamp Care Package Night. Awesome!

     AdoptaCamp hold an annual Care Package night in which volunteers help pack boxes filled with daily essentials, such as soap, toothpaste, tooth brush, etc, for laborers working in Dubai. The vibe there is very positive, high in energy and what I like the most is that everyone is smiling while working! It’s a proper event with entire families participating and groups of friends attending. This year I went with some friends and five kids who were volunteering for the first time. They thought the whole place was in their words ‘awesome!’. 🙂

    2. A new find of mine on the streets of Dubai has been MotiRoti! They have a wrap stand and have decided to feed around 175 laborers working in the area, every day, starting the ‘Feed a Blue Belly’ campaign. Have not volunteered there yet as I help out at another place at the same time but love what they do and the way they have generated a lot of enthusiasm and support, and they seem to have a knack with coming up with creative names!

    3. The Barsha Boys. Well this technically has no name but a friend of mine gives out food every evening in Ramadhan to low income workers in the Barsha area. It’s a small effort with only a few involved and I had decided to be more hands on this year and it has been very rewarding. The men are so grateful to receive the food packages and are always greeting us with smiles and we started to call them our Barsha boys. It is a very humbling and rewarding experience to serve those who have it less easy than you. We are truly blessed to have food on our plates, a good place to sleep and the every day comforts that we take for granted. We might have our problems, but there are always those who are worse off than us.

    The smile says it all...

    The smile says it all…

     

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Donating an hour of my time

In Social Entrepreneurship on May 20, 2012 at 6:18 am

There are a lot of people doing a lot of good in Dubai. There is a strong wave of volunteerism that twitter and facebook have helped expand. I came across one such organization recently and got a chance to volunteer at Karama Kanteen. Karama Kanteen is something like AdoptaCamp but they focus mainly on providing food, toiletries and clothes to the laborers working in our city.

We set off at 8 in the morning on the weekend to one of the camps in the city, to provide breakfast to around 450 men. The men stand in line as soon as they know that you will be distributing things, but some did cut queue and there was one particular gentleman who came back in queue 3 times! 🙂 With about 10 volunteers, we managed to serve breakfast in around an hours time which to me was surprisingly fast. Looking at how happy some of the men were to receive a free meal, I just wished we could have served them a hot meal and chilled juice rather than the luke warm juice can we were distributing. There is nothing like a chilled drink on a hot day!

Here are some pictures of the event:

Smiling faces waiting patiently

Smiling faces waiting patiently

Line moved along at a good pace

Line moved along at a good pace

The subcontinental breakfast that was served

The subcontinental breakfast that was served

Earth Hour and Plastic

In Social Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized on April 2, 2012 at 10:03 am

In an empty lot I came across this which speaks for itself:

20120402-155518.jpg

The lot was between Dubai Internet City and Knowledge Village, which happens to be a very clean and well maintained area so this took me by surprise. It wasn’t a big lot but there easily could have been a hundred or so plastic bottles littering the place! Just a couple of days back we had Earth Hour and seeing this made me think ‘what are we doing to our planet?!’ I use plastic bottles daily without a thought. This will make me think twice.

Change!

In Social Entrepreneurship on March 17, 2012 at 7:16 am

I don’t really know why I started a blog, it was an impulse decision, but now that I have one, I want to continue. I got some feedback, from a couple of friends, which I want to act upon. One friend said what is iterated in the ‘blog best practices’, that I should focus on 1 topic rather than be general. They way it was put was ‘if you go into a store that sells a bit of everything, you are not going to remember it much, but if it specializes in a particular type of merchandise, you are likely to go back if you are interested in that’.

Valid point. What did I want to write about? To be frank, I really don’t know but I will start with what my focus is this year: CHANGE. I have been living my life the same way, year after year. This year I decided that I would do some of the things that I always wanted to do but never did. I will shake up my routine and take risks. I was always interested in social entrepreneurship but never delved into it much; my excuse was I never had time to commit and you just continue to work in the field you studied. Every day life got into the way. So I have decided to change my every day life. Maybe even quit my job (yikes!) and volunteer where ever I can, get to know people in this area and even take up formal education in social entrepreneurship. It might be drastic, but knowing myself, it is what I need. The risks are huge, but at least I will know that I tried, and even if I fail, or realize this is not for me, I will no longer be wondering ‘if i had done that’.

To share a quote given by another friend: “If you create an act, you create a habit. If you create a habit, you create a character. If you create a character, you create a destiny.” (Andre Maurois)

Hence I will try to focus this blog on my social entrepreneurship journey! I might deviate from this topic, to post other things I might find interesting, but overall ‘socent’ will be my goal.

I will change, evolve, and find out who I really am….

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