A total of 3,593 volunteers converged at Al Boom Tourist Village in Dubai on January 8 and 9, 2015 to help pack 50,000 school kits for the children of Gaza. The Dubai Cares community campaign aims to supply the children of Gaza with the school necessities required to continue their education following the seven-week bombing during summer 2014 in Palestine. The campaign was conceived to provide children currently studying in UNRWA schools in Gaza with school essentials as they return to regular classes with the start of the second half of the academic year as well as the New Year.
The Dubai Cares community campaign, which is part of the organization's recently launched "Rebuild Palestine. Start with Education." initiative, was planned to take place from January 8 to 11, 2015. With the help of the thousands of volunteers that joined during the first two days, Dubai Cares was able to finish packing all the 50,000 bags on Friday January 9, 2015.
Commenting on the success of the campaign, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares praised the UAE community for its strong support saying: "We are grateful to everyone who volunteered over the course of the campaign, from corporations and schools to individuals, the UAE community has turned out in full force to make sure education remains part of the developmental vision for Palestine. The completion of the campaign with the packing of 50,000 school kits in just two days is testament to everyone's commitment towards helping the children of Gaza. The children of Gaza have consistently fallen victim to the endless rounds of violence that has overwhelmed the region over the years. By providing them with the key material needed for school, we are enabling them to rise above the current circumstances and take control of their futures."
The contents of the kit, sourced by Dubai Cares in accordance with UNRWA guidelines, included a backpack, notebooks, sketch books, geometry kit, calculator, pencil case for stationery including pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, crayons, rulers etc.
Aisha Abdulla Al Muhairi, UAE National, one of the participants commented: "I have a passion for volunteer work and I did not have a lot of chances to participate before so I am very happy to join Dubai Cares in this campaign. I feel pride and joy that our government and community caters to humanitarian programs away and at home. After this experience, I encourage everyone to take part in volunteer work as this kind of work reflects our humanity."
Tareq Khalid, Palestinian, another participant commented: "I thank Dubai Cares for giving me this opportunity to work together with many people from different nationalities and cultures towards one noble cause with one aim; to draw a smile on the faces of Palestinian children."
Piper Mills, American said: "To see so many people from different backgrounds, cultures and religions, working together for a cause that doesn't provide personal gain for any of us, is incredibly rewarding. It really helps to restore some faith in humanity in a time when so many people are so focused on hurting others."
The campaign follows the Dubai Cares AED 11 million (USD 3 million) program, which was launched in October 2014 to support access to education and mitigate the psycho-social effects of armed conflict on the student population in Gaza. This is not the first Dubai Cares campaign aimed at facilitating the lives of children living in Gaza. In 2009, the organization conducted a similar community engagement campaign that provided 50,000 school kits and 50,000 hygiene kits to the children of Gaza.