Hareth Al Bustani | August 8, 2013
This Ramadan, I’ve spoken to charities, fundraisers and volunteers working across the country. Mainly, I’ve reported on events that focus on helping labourers, from Adopt-a-Camps’ iftar care packages to free eye tests on Zayed Day for Humanitarian Works. It’s been refreshing to see so much humanitarian work being done for so many, by so many, and in such a short space of time. And it’s been a testiment to the generous nature of much of the UAE’s population; who more often than not attribute this, at least in part, to the humanitarian legacy of founding President Sheikh Zayed.
With much international news dominated by war and sorrow, such brief moments of selflessness are neccessary reminders of our species’ remarkable capacity for altruism.
Obviously it’s noble that for a whole month, the conversation revolves around the less fortunate – but the holy month is, by nature, only a month long.
It is important to remember that those in need during the holy month will still be in need after Eid Al Fitr.
Those with a charitable spirit, and a strong sense of empathy, know iftar handouts are hardly aimed at setting labourers up for life. They are about showing the poor that society hasn’t forgotten about them, that we care, and the momentary warmth that brings.
Of course, I do not mean to imply that those who help the needy in Ramadan exclusively are of an egoist persuasion, or hypocrites. It’s hard to find the time to give. It’s hard to scrape together enough money to spare. And it’s far too easy to forget those without a voice. I’m the first to admit I consistently do far too little throughout the year.
But surely – if one is only generous to the needy within Ramadan because its required of them, then does this generosity not become disengenuous; and self-defeating? Perhaps not, but I feel the duty to be kind is an unconditional, universal one; not a limited edition tradition.
For those who cannot afford to donate, or spare the time; at least hold the less fortunate in your thoughts. And for those that can – there are many in the country that would appreciate the help, and even more outside.
If you have noble intentions but don’t know where to start, check out Dubai Cares (http://www.dubaicares.ae/en); the Red Crescent Authority (http://www.rcuae.ae/); Adopt-a-Camp (http://www.adoptacamp.ae/); Dar el Bar Society (http://www.daralber.ae/arabic/Pages/default.aspx); Volunteer in UAE (http://www.volunteerinuae.com/); UAE Cancer Foundation (http://www.cancer.ae/); Dubai Centre for Special Needs (http://www.dcsneeds.ae/); Gulf for Good (http://www.gulf4good.org/en).
Unfortunately, there won’t be any shortage of hungry mouths or sick children needing blood come Eid.
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Links: Zayed Day for Humanitarian Works: http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/remembering-zayed-uae-rulers-praise-legacy-of-founding-father