Dubai has launched a fresh humanitarian initiative 'Dubai Hands' to provide first aid, food and other relief assistance to nearly one million workers and handicapped people, accounting for more than 45 per cent of its population.
A Dubai Media Inc publication, the emirate’s police and several other departments have joined hands in the UAE’s first such initiative, which they said was prompted by an alarming lack of first aid provision in workplaces and other sites in the emirate.
In the US, an average of 15 workers die each day from traumatic injuries gained at work, while in the UK it’s recommended to have one member of staff for every 25 qualified in first aid.
Surprisingly, in Dubai only one person out of 100 staff is required to be trained, according to the Initiative supervisors.
“This is the first initiative of its kind in the UAE as it targets to provide comprehensive services to three categories — workers, handicapped persons and prison inmates,” they said in a statement carried by the Dubai-based Arabic language newspaper Emarat Al Youm, one of the initiative’s sponsors.
It said the plan involves provision of food and water for hundreds of thousands of workers, mainly in Summer, when water consumption soars.
The plan also involves helping needy workers to return to their home countries, settling debt of prisoners who are unable to pay to gain their freedom, and to provide jobs to the handicapped and other persons with special needs.
“This is an annual social and humanitarian programme based on partnership and collaboration between Dubai’s charity groups, the department of Islamic Affairs and other government establishments. It is intended to ease the suffering of workers, prisoners and the handicapped,” the Initiative’s leader Ali Al Mansoori said.
The Initiative’s coordinator Lt Omar Al Owaim of Dubai’s police said the plan includes a radio programme dubbed 'My Voice' designed to create awareness among those people about their rights and to tackle their problems.
He said the initiative also covers the prisoners’ families by financially supporting them and also helping integrate the handicapped into the community.
As part of this initiative, a shopping event has been held recently to support the handicapped.
The 'Zayed bin Mohammed' family festival involved 200 shops and restaurants which provided various products by the handicapped. Each shop was rent for a token fee for 2.5 months to encourage those persons.
“This event was an opportunity to market those products which included perfumes, gifts, clothes, accessories, bags, toys and other products,” the organising committee said.
Mansoori said the event attracted thousands of visitors from all emirates, adding that it also included lectures about the integration of the handicapped in the community.
He said the committee organised another event involving training on providing services and that it was attended by a large number of civil servants, mainly from the departments involved in the 'Dubai Hands' initiative.
He noted that the name of this event has been changed to 'Zayed bin Mohammed family gathering' at the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Another event involved free medical check-up that covered more than 3,000 people for diabetes, blood pressure, eye diseases and other illnesses.
Mansoori said during this campaign, free mobile phone call credit cards were distributed to workers so they can contact their families in their home countries.
“The Dubai Hands initiative is also concerned about the workers’ human rights. Hence it organised lectures to educate them about their rights. We have also given them booklets in various Asian languages highlighting their rights,” he said.
Besides Emarat Al Youm and Dubai’s police, the other sponsors of the Initiative include the Department of Islamic affairs, the general administration for residency and foreigners’ affairs, the civil defence, the community development authority, Dubai’s municipality, the Roads and Transport Authority, the health authority and Dar Al Birr (charity) society.
“These parties are working together and devising joint plans to achieve the objectives of Dubai Hands infinitive.
"Its main aim is to bolster the humanitarian role of Dubai in particular and of the UAE in general, to support the principles of justice and human rights, enhance the concept of equality and transparency in our community, especially for workers, and to ease the suffering of those three categories,” he said.