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article imageVolunteers become scarce in UAE

By Naved Akhtar     Feb 14, 2009 in World
A recent survey has found that the numbers of volunteers in the UAE is dropping make life difficult for public institutions that rely on their input.
This survey was carried out by The Emirates Sociological Association and has blamed the tough financial climate, traffic problems and “materialistic” pursuits for the shortfall.
Ibrahim Ubaid, general secretary at the association believes that as prices are increasing, people are focusing on paid work so that they can meet the higher costs of living. Mr Ubaid told The National that “urgent and immediate” work was still very popular but people are hesitating to make longer–term commitments. Mr Ubaid’s is very concerned with the number of government institutions that are understaffed.
Head of volunteers at the Friends of Cancer Patients Society, Al Anood Buseem al Abdool, believes that people less motivated to volunteer than they were decades ago.
Some people believe that one issue affecting volunteer rates is opposition from some families. Hessa al Romaithi, a 22-year-old Emirati student at Zayed University said:
“There are many girls who would love to volunteer, but their families don’t allow them.”
However, not everyone in the UAE agree with the results of this poll with the results being disputed by some organisations. Director of the Takatof Programme for Social Volunteering, Maytha al Habsi told The National that more people are volunteering for good causes; however, the demand for volunteers is increasing. She said:
“Some of our volunteers work with government and civil society institutions to organise national events like awareness campaigns, conferences, sporting events and cultural activities. Others work directly with people in need. There is a real need for social volunteering, particularly for areas that are not covered by government programmes, like spending time with isolated elderly residents or befriending children with special needs.”
More about UAE, Volunteers, Emirate, Zayed university
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