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.
Residents of Sharjah and other emirates from ages 18 to 60 may now participate in the UAE (Abu Dhabi Health Services Corp. and G42 Healthcare)-China (Sinopharm of the government-owned China National Biotech Group) Phase III COVID19 candidate inactivated vaccine clinical trial.
In line with the directives of H.H. Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of Sharjah Executive Council, the Sharjah Executive Council, SEC issued a decision to extend the period of suspension of all social and sporting events, celebrations in wedding halls, event halls, hotels, and government and community facilities until the end of June, as part of precautionary measures to prevent the coronavirus.
The Ministry stressed in a statement on Saturday that, its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
The Sharjah Police stated that non-compliance with wearing masks, and gatherings top the list of reports received through the reporting platforms that have been made available to the public, stressing the need to adhere to precautionary measures, and to report violations and abuses through its channels designated for individuals so that deterrent legal measures are taken against violators.
Col Bin Suwaidan stated further that the police patrols had impounded two vehicles on two separate occasions for illegally fitting their vehicles with using emergency warning lights similar to the police.
The police said that accidents happened because motorists were paying attention to the road and the traffic in front of them.
Authorities have said only one million people can join the 2022 season, less than half of pre-pandemic levels, and access is restricted to pilgrims aged 18 to 65 who have been fully vaccinated or immunised against the virus and do not suffer from chronic diseases.
Oana is from Romania and is currently based in Ras Al-Khaimah. The newly wed who has lived in the UAE for six years runs her own business. A loyal Mahzooz fan, she hopes to score the top prize of Dhs10,000,000 but for now she is grateful for the win.