If you’ve never volunteered with Dubai Cares before, it’s time to give it some serious thought. I never had an opportunity to take part in any of their events before, mainly due to the fact that there are more volunteers than slots available, which is probably the nicest problem to have, but managed to get a slot in the 3rd edition of Volunteer Emirates at Al Rashidiya Private School this year.
The charity school, with over 700 students, was in need of helping hands for a nice makeover. From arranging the library, painting murals, assembling shelving and setting up the theatre and even landscaping, people were ready to help with it all.
We started at around 8am, got assigned to our groups and I was in with the mural painting team. I’ll be frank, I’m not much of a painter, but there is something amazing about seeing the walls transform from a boring cream, to a rainbow of colours and images that would bring out the inner painter in us all.
While the other teams headed off to do the heavy lifting with the shelves and landscaping, we headed off to collect our paint, plastic rolls, brushes, thinner, gloves and all our energy so we could finish up before lunch. As we were working, I was reminded yet again of how volunteering brings out the best in people- everyone doing their best, working together and helping each other out whether that meant lending each other brushes and paints to avoid the long walk to the paint station, or giving their artistic opinion on whether the sand looked real enough or if we needed to figure out a new paint mixing formula instead.
Also, the team that had gathered was a true testament to the diversity in the UAE- so many different nationalities with their own unique backgrounds and experiences, brought together by a common cause, sharing and learning through great conversations over a palette and a fatayer. Many of us came in as strangers and left as friends with phone numbers exchanged and promises to meet again soon.
Even as we wrapped up, there was still lots of work being done to ready the school for the first day after the weekend. What a surprise it will be for the kids- to walk in on Sunday morning and see their school transformed… like magic… :)
I think we could all do with bringing some magic into other people’s lives <3