Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter
The Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) has launched a tech drive in support of the students of Pakistani expatriate community in Dubai, who are unable to continue online education. The drive is supporting students who do not have access to personal gadgets as e-learning requires to do so.
With the COVID19 outbreak the local authorities advised all schools to go online, the students at Pakistani community schools found it difficult to cope up with the shift. The Pakistan Youth Forum and welfare team at PAD have received numerous queries for support.
“Each Pakistani family has three to four children and providing gadgets to all of them is a challenge for middle class Pakistani parents. These are difficult times and we have decided to step in and ensure no child’s education is interrupted” said Rizwan Fancy, director welfare at PAD.
The association has received over a hundred queries from desperate parents who need assistance.
“We have requested the community to support us with spare gadgets they have and we have also ordered tablets to distribute amongst those who need immediate help” added Fancy who is constantly working on procuring the tablets.
“E-learning might be considered a privilege for some while for others this transition has proven to be quite challenging. We realised that despite the schools best efforts to transition onto e-learning platforms, it has been quite difficult to implement an e-learning system as students on the receiving end do not have access to the internet or laptops to access their lessons” said Nissmah Atif, chairperson Pakistan Youth Forum.
The Tech Drive — a community led initiative has received a great response from members of the Pakistani community who strongly believe in providing education for all. It is also supported by the Community Development Authority who is referring those students to Dar Al Ber Society who require a laptop.
“Some laptops and iPADs have been given to students, we are currently identifying students those who are in high school and primary to provide for them the right device” noted Fancy who urged the Pakistani community to come forward and participate in this noble cause.
PAD has always supported the education of Pakistani students who find it difficult to continue their studies due to financial reasons. This initiative is a testimony of PAD’s strong belief in providing education to every member of the community.
The Pakistan Association Dubai is distributing food packages to those members of the community who have been affected by the circumstances of COVID19 pandemic. Over fifteen hundred people across all nationalities have benefitted from the food drive.
The campaign has gained momentum in the last ten days and the food packages are distributed in Dubai and its neighbouring emirates. The food drive is supported by the community and the volunteers who have gone above and beyond to give their services, contributions and time towards a noble cause.
“We are overwhelmed with calls every fifteen minutes, receiving countless requests for food packages from across all emirates and we are doing our best to reach out to each one of them personally, as we speak over fifteen hundred food packages have been dispatched,” said Rizwan Fancy, director welfare at PAD.
“We have no borders or barriers in this time of need, we do not differentiate between a Pakistani and a non-Pakistani, we ensure the person is needy and is a deserving candidate. Our teams have delivered the essential items in all areas of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, and Khorfakkan,” noted Fancy who plans to send his teams to Umm Al Quwain, Al Ain, and Ras Al Khaimah in this week.
The food package includes flour, rice, milk powder, sugar, black tea, oil, salt, and three kinds of lentils which can suffice from three weeks to a month. The teams involved in packing and delivering food practise social distancing and maintain high hygiene standards. Therefore, door to door distributions are strategized to avoid gathering; not a single person has come to PAD for collection.
PAD has not announced its campaign for food packages on social media but it has been receiving requests through whatsapp groups and facebook messages. The food packages are given to those who are on visit visas and are stranded, there are some who haven’t received their salaries, have lost their jobs due to the corona crisis, or were freelancers and have no source of income.
“We have been inundated with requests from diverse nationalities such as Indians, Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Bengalis, Kenyans, Nigerians and people from the Levant region. PAD takes pride in serving the community at large and following the principles of tolerance and social cohesion,” added Fancy who is personally monitoring the entire process of the food campaign from packaging to deliveries.
“All this has been possible through the support from the community and the assistance of our passionate volunteers who believe in our mantra of giving” said Dr. Faisel Ikram, President PAD who is currently volunteering his services at a COVID centre in Dubai.
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