Fourteen UAE-based volunteers joined forces with the local community in Basauti village in Nepal, which is still recovering from the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2015, to change the lives of 150 out-of-school children by setting the foundation of a 3-classroom new primary school. Slated for completion in 2019, the school will have a profound impact on the educational journey of the children, as well as the larger community. The UAE-based volunteers representing 9 nationalities donated their invaluable time and energy to travel to Nepal, work alongside the community members and participate in the groundbreaking of the village’s newest and much coveted school premises, which is funded by Amal Education Limited led by UAE businessman Ahmed bin Byat.
According to a 2016 UNICEF report, Nepal has 5.2 million children of primary and lower secondary school age (5- to 12-years). It is estimated that 23.2 per cent of primary school-age children are out of school. Poverty is the greatest barrier to education, followed by caste discrimination, long distances to schools – particularly in the mountainous regions, migration of children and child labor. Furthermore, the horrific earthquake of 2015 has forced additional children out of school, due to damaged infrastructure or families sending their children to work, thus exacerbating these challenges.
Dubai Cares’ Volunteer Globally initiative underpins the organization’s mandate to eradicate poverty through education in developing countries. The initiative is incredibly popular with members of the UAE community, who apply in large numbers to participate and dedicate their time and energy to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children and young people.
The volunteers were involved in the construction work and assisted across the various stages including digging, lifting, pumping water, mixing concrete, reinforcing steel bars, and making and laying bricks. They also participated in cultural education workshops that allowed them to embed and immerse themselves within the local community for a rewarding experience.
“Dubai Cares is grateful for the generosity of Amal Education Limited led by Ahmed bin Byat, which has funded the construction of the school. We would also like to thank the volunteers who continue to come forward for each edition, and dedicate their time and energy to ensure that out-of-school children in the in Nepal and the developing world are given a fair chance at leading fulfilling lives, by gifting them the opportunity to go to school and learn. It is extremely humbling to watch the Volunteer Globally initiative grow and realize the vision of Dubai Cares by having a tremendous lifelong impact on the lives of schoolchildren around the world, as they embark on a learning journey that will allow them to pursue their dreams, as well as make significant contributions to their communities. We are energized by the response of the volunteers and their passion towards making a difference, but also proud of the opportunity the initiative extends to the UAE’s community members to experience the impact of Dubai Cares’ programs around the world,” said Abdulla Ahmed Al Shehhi, Chief Operating Officer, Dubai Cares.
Natasha Vaz, a volunteer who joined Dubai Cares’ delegation in Nepal described her experience as memorable and emotional. “I am grateful to Dubai Cares for organizing an excellent volunteering opportunity that allows us to participate in initiatives that have a greater purpose. Our experiences in Nepal, a country that is clearly still recovering from the 2015 earthquake, were extraordinary. It has been truly memorable to have worked side-by-side with the Nepalese community, who have incredibly welcomed us. Our greatest joy was seeing the sparkle in the children’s eyes when they realized they have a school of their own.”
Mohammad Al Balooshi from the UAE said: “The impeccable reputation of Dubai Cares and the Volunteer Globally initiative makes it a philanthropic must-do. I am thankful for Dubai Cares for responding to increasing demand for volunteering initiatives among the UAE community. It was a privilege to have been chosen for this edition and I will forever cherish my time with the people from Basauti village, and the opportunity to join fellow UAE volunteers for a noble cause that will change the lives of the children and their community.”
Prior to embarking on the school-building mission, the volunteers underwent a comprehensive briefing and sensitization program that introduced them to Nepal and the realities on the ground such as the socio-economic background of the communities they would interact with and an overview of the activities they would participate in as part of the school-building mission.
The first edition of Dubai Cares’ Volunteer Globally 2018 was hosted this year in Senegal, where 13 volunteers from the UAE joined hands with the community in Tasset Peul village to build a new community school. The school is expected to benefit 60 Senegalese school children.