486 govt employees join Sharjah’s fight against virus - GulfToday

486 govt employees join Sharjah’s fight against virus


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

The Sharjah Executive Council has approved an exceptional sabbatical leave with full pay for the Sharjah government employees to offer volunteer work supporting various sectors, especially during crises and disasters and epidemics.

The Sharjah Volunteer Centre, in coordination with the Emirate’s Volunteering Committee, offered 37 volunteering opportunities for 486 individuals between March and May 2020, with the total volunteering hours exceeding more than 15,000 hours. Besides, the Centre has registered around 1900 volunteers who are both competent and passionate to offer their services for the community and the UAE.

Afaf Al Marri, Head of the Social Services Department in Sharjah, said that in view of the importance of volunteer work and its impact on society, especially during crises and emergencies such as the Covid-19, the need for support by members of society specialising in certain areas becomes all the more significant and an urgent necessity. In this connection, the Sharjah Volunteering Committee has presented a legislative proposal that supports volunteers and organisations that they may like to volunteer with, especially in confronting the Coronavirus epidemic.

The Centre worked by providing various voluntary opportunities to strengthen the concept of social responsibility among members of society, especially during crises and disasters, while ensuring the necessity to follow the preventive regulations and guidelines introduced by the UAE to confront the Coronavirus threat.

Afaf al Marri stressed the necessity of strengthening the volunteer work system and emphasising its importance, especially during disasters and national emergencies, and educating all members of society and encouraging them to participate actively by providing them with voluntary opportunities.

She called for expanding volunteering opportunities by including virtual volunteering along with field volunteering, general volunteering, and specialist volunteering to counter the Covid-19 epidemic in the country.

Al Marri said, “Volunteering plays a pivotal role in enhancing the meaning of community cooperation and interdependence and increases social interaction between individuals, and highlighting the concept of social responsibility that supports the effectiveness of government action and increases its efficiency.”

She added, “We in the UAE are keen to prepare the individual and train him or her for the national response in times of emergencies, crises and disasters. In the past, such volunteering contribution by individuals has played a critical role in supporting and strengthening the efforts of the UAE government.”

Over the past few months, the Social Services Department provided four major volunteering opportunities, namely Baraka Al Dar, Stay Safe, Cohesion and Giving Fund.

The Baraka Al Dar initiative aimed to promote greater cohesion and communication between the community members and the elderly. The Stay Safe mission saw the department distributing sterilisation kits to community members.

As part of the Closer Together initiative the support was provided to elderly citizens and residents over the age of 60.

Through the Giving Fund, the Social Services Department distributed more than 2,000 food boxes to the needy.

The Sharjah Cooperative Society provided a number of volunteering opportunities, such as ‘Shopping comfortably and safely’, with the aim of helping the shopping at 80%. The ‘Aoun’ initiative worked to support the needy families in the Emirate by preparing 4000 food baskets.

The Sharjah Charity Association through the ‘Learn for Homeland’ initiative distributed smart tablets to the families of the needy to support them to continue distance learning without any obstacles. The Auqaf Department has also reached out by reviving the support for the needy during the Covid-19 crisis through volunteering on social media as part of the ‘volunteer to stop’ initiative.

The Sharjah Police General Headquarters (Community Police) launched an initiative to tackle the Corona pandemic to ensure the safety of individuals in quarantine and to assure them of the need to adhere to the preventive measures against the virus and limit its spread.

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