One doesn’t have to be influential or rich to make a difference in the lives of others, but one needs to have compassion and the will to be proactive and make a change.
I had the pleasure of meeting a group of women that come from all walks of life but share a passion to help those in need, residing in one of the communities in luxurious Dubai these women came together for a good cause to help those mostly forgotten; the workers that help build this magnificent city.
It all started with one woman’s vision, Ranjeeta Serra although being a full time mom she just couldn’t turn a blind eye and was on a mission to help make the lives of some workers a little bit better. She spoke to Arab Woman Mag about her cause “Helping Hands 4 Dubai Workers”,
Tell us about Helping Hands, where did the idea come from? When did you start? How did you start?
The idea for ‘Helping Hands’, came to me a year ago during the hot summer months in Dubai. I saw many workers in construction sites, landscapers, gardeners etc. across town, and felt saddened to see them working during the day in the heat. And although the U.A.E labor laws protect and take care of their workers and the companies that hire those men make sure that their needs are attended to, yet i wanted to do my share and thank them in my own way, let them know that they are appreciated. I got this idea to ask around for donation of caps, hats, sunglasses, as many people driving around in their air-conditioned cars, or staying indoors in air-conditioned malls/homes/offices were unaware of some of the difficulties these men face while working in such extreme conditions.
I knew that many people would feel for this cause and donate things they didn’t need any longer, and I was right! Donations came pouring in when the idea was put out there.
I use to collect from people, load up my car and then drive around, handing out water, caps, clothes, sunglasses to the workers wherever I saw them. The joy I witnessed was so heartening that I decided to continue ‘giving’ to them even after summer ends. I created a Facebook Group “Beat the heat for Dubai workers”, and that was the initial intention, to update and include people on how their donations were being used and bringing so much relief and happiness to the workers.
Today, the group is called ‘Helping Hands 4 Dubai Workers” and many people are helping me in this cause, including my sister and husband.
I am especially fortunate to meet a wonderful lady Marie Buchan in my neighborhood who helped get so many women together to donate and help in this cause. She seems to be far more ambitious in reaching great heights for this cause, than I have been, and I’m so happy to have her help and support.
What motivated you to do this?
I was motivated to help these men as they are the people building our city, the beautiful houses we live in, the malls, the roads, the bridges. This is my way of thanking them for constructing this beautiful country we are so blessed to live in.
What do you hope to achieve by doing this?
I wish to get more people involved in this cause. If everybody gives a little something, it is still a lot for these workers who come from extremely poor backgrounds, to support their families, and can barely afford to buy anything for themselves. My dream is that this becomes a permanent affair, and that the people involved can regularly donate food/water, even items such as clothes, woolens, caps, phone cards or electrical good to them.
What are some of the challenges you faced doing this and how did you overcome them?
The initial challenge was to get people to feel for this cause. I felt that mostly, these workers were almost ‘invisible’ to us, as we drive or walk past them. To get people to stop and take notice of them, maybe go over and talk to them was the challenge. Once people took notice, they started doing something to help show appreciation.
What are some of the things that you might have learned doing charity work?
During this work I have learned that we should always remember that someone somewhere has bigger problems than us, and to help the less-fortunate gives a great feeling of satisfaction and happiness. You learn to be grateful to God for the blessings in your life, instead of complaining about trivial things.
What’s your motto in life?
My motto in life is – “If you do good for someone, you motivate them to do good for someone else in return. What goes around comes around”.
Any message you would like to share with our readers and other women?
I would like to tell readers that helping someone or giving them a little happiness is very easy. You don’t need big resources or a lot of money. It’s as easy as maybe giving a bottle of water to a worker or an old piece of clothing to ONE worker now and then. If everyone does a little something daily, it’s a lot for these workers. The simple gesture of giving is enough to make them happy and feel like they are also noticed and cared for.
As it is a month of love and giving you too can give back to your community and think of those that help make your life easier and yet might go unnoticed. Show them that you care and appreciate their hard work; don’t forget that you too can make a difference.
Facebook page: HELPING HANDS 4 DUBAI WORKERS!