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Posts Tagged ‘Dubai’

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

My first day of trekking! Like when Rocky climbs up those stairs!

In Travel on April 28, 2012 at 11:41 am

After a breakfast in the shadows with a lone light bulb providing light, where we struggled to unpeel boiled eggs (do you unpeel an egg??), we moved out into the mountains! After crossing over a couple of suspension bridges feeling very Indiana Jones like, we started our ascent. I am not a fit person and I can tell you that I was out of breath before we even started but excitement kept me going and going and going until I gave up mentally as the end seemed too far away. Now I had been ‘preparing’ myself for the trek by walking and working out (lightly), but while I was plodding up the trail I realized that my preparation had been all wrong! Now if you live in Dubai, and are planning on going on a trek to Nepal, this is what you should do: Walk up the stairs at Burj Khalifa! Go all the way up and then come all the way down! Do that many times. That will prepare you for this trek! And if you are not in Dubai, then choose the tallest building you have in your city and take the stairs to the top. Or alternatively practice on a real mountain….

Burj Khalifa at Night, Dubai

If you are going to Nepal for trekking and live in Dubai, u need to go to the top of this using the stairs!

Our trail started at Nayapul and went up Banthanti. In between our mid-morning drinks break, and our final tea lodge stop were 5,000 steps; and by steps I mean rocks you have to step on to move up. I take the stairs at work but I don’t think I have climbed up 5,000 steps in my lifetime! We covered 1,170 m in 7 hours and for a beginner it was tiring! But when you stop and look back and catch the view around you, it is amazing, and when you reach the top to your destination and realize you did it, you want to lift your arms up like Rocky did up those steps in the first movie! We were all first timers, and upon hearing 5,000 steps we all gave up mentally, but we were pushed on, yet like little children kept asking every 5 minutes ‘how many steps have we covered now?’. But we saw at the end of it, that we can actually achieve things we really didn’t think we could! That is one thing this trek taught me; that we are all stronger than we think we are and are capable of doing much more than we assume we can. And it feels good to push yourself and make it! You can do it, specially if you got no choice but to do it.

So lessons learned from day 1 of the trek: You can do it! And take the stairs at Burj Khalifa… Enjoy the pictures:

Birethanti

Welcome to Birethanti

Indiana Jonesing it on suspension bridge with prayer flags

Indiana Jonesing it on suspension bridge with prayer flags

water water everywhere

water water everywhere

and trees

and trees

Yak cheese anyone

Yak cheese anyone?

Steps

Steps

and more steps

and more steps

and finally

My five fingers drying out after a long day

My five fingers drying out after a long day

I think I will have 2 more posts with pictures from Gorepani, Gandruk and Poon Hill. Nepal is beautiful and a trip worth going for!

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.

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