Thirteen UAE-based volunteers have successfully completed a volunteering mission in Siw village in Senegal, where they participated in the construction of a new school. The diverse group, representing 11 nationalities and various professional backgrounds, was rigorously selected by Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, to form the volunteering force for the second edition of the popular “Volunteer Globally 2019” initiative. From 23 to 30 November 2019, the volunteers joined the local community to set the foundation for a new community-based school that will benefit 60 children (with 50% female enrollment) and 60 illiterate adults directly, as well as 300 adults from the community indirectly. The school construction was generously sponsored by Maersk-Kanoo, one of the largest container ship and supply vessel operators in the world.
Beyond participating in the construction activities, the volunteers had the unique opportunity to enrich their perspective of life and the world by immersing themselves with the local community for an entire week. As part of the philanthropic organization’s effort to instill the values of tolerance through this global community engagement initiative, volunteers also got to interact and bond with local families, discover their culture, understand their values and traditions, ultimately making the week-long mission a truly rewarding experience, full of incredible memories.
Leading the volunteer group, Abdulla Ahmed Alshehhi, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai Cares, said: “With every edition of ‘Volunteer Globally’, our sense of accomplishment – both in terms of our impact on the community as well as volunteer engagement – grows. All the volunteers who have joined us in this edition, as well as previous ones, return back to Dubai with a fresh perspective on life and a new understanding of their place in the world. We would like to extend our thanks to our volunteers who have demonstrated commendable effort and passion in donating their time and energy for a worthy cause. We are also grateful to Maersk-Kanoo for sponsoring the construction of the school. Without its tremendous and generous support, this would not have been possible. Through the construction of this school in Senegal, we are helping children reach their dreams and get on the best footing for a bright and successful future. To everyone who has not yet joined us in our volunteering missions both locally and abroad, I ask you to not hesitate and sign up for what I am sure will be a life-changing experience.”
Mr. Mohammed Ali bin Ailan Al Shamsi, Charge d’Affaires a.i at the UAE Embassy in Dakar said: “The UAE Embassy highly appreciates Dubai Cares’ outstanding efforts in Senegal. Dubai Cares is one of the leading UAE philanthropic organizations, delivering vital services to people in Senegal by providing quality education to children in this country. This support to Senegal stems from the organization’s firm belief in the power of education in changing the lives of communities and people.”
“Dubai Cares' initiatives in Senegal are widely recognized at the official and popular levels. The Minister of Civil Service, Mariam Sar, has recently hailed Dubai Cares' ongoing and impactful development aid programs in the education sector in Senegal, in reference to the distribution of 30,000 school bags for children in the central city of Kulch”, he added.
“While commanding its efforts in Senegal, the Embassy calls upon Dubai Cares to continue in this direction by serving the UAE’s humanitarian mission and strengthening the relations of friendship and cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Senegal”, he concluded.
Senegal is a country of over 16 million in West Africa that is currently considered in the low human development group, with a rank of 164 out of 189 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index. Despite enjoying strong economic performance in the last four years, the country’s economy is still vulnerable to external shocks and faces educational challenges, with a literacy rate at only 56% according to 2015 UNESCO statistics, and 59% of rural children out of primary school. The future of Senegal relies highly on its education system as 58% of the population is under the age of 20.