ABU DHABI // It was the storm of the century on Wednesday that showed the true meaning of solidarity.
Al Bayt Mitwahid, an association set up in 2012 by volunteers from the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court to support the community, was unveiling their initiatives for the year on the porch of the Al Bateen majlis when they were caught in the worst storm to hit the country in years.
Six 2-metre stands, leaflets and banners caught in the strong winds flew all over the venue.
Mohammed Al Qadhi, deputy chairman of Al Bayt Mitwahid, said: “Volunteers, staff, managers and directors rushed to protect the exhibition and moved it quickly indoor.
“This is what Al Bayt Mitwahid is all about. The unity and solidarity displayed in the face of such adversity is precisely what we stand for and precisely what we want to promote across the UAE.
“Perhaps nothing better can describe what transpired and our feeling today than [Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces] Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed’s quote ‘we are well as long as our home is united’.”
Mr Al Qadhi unveiled some of the association’s largest initiatives, such as a Dh2 million, 10,100 square-metre park in Ras Al Khaimah.
Al Bayt Mitwahid volunteer Mohamed Al Zaabi said work on the park will begin next month and is expected to be completed within two years.
“The park is in a residential area located next to the Bayt Mitwahid majlis.”
He said that residents and visitors to the majlis had complained of the lack of recreational facilities several times.
“This is why we decided to have the park to create a place for residents to enjoy, play sports and spend time with the family.”
The association has launched many initiatives over the years. One is the Ripe Market at Al Mushrif park, launched last year.
“Almost everyone knows the Ripe Market in Abu Dhabi, but few know that it is one of Al Bayt Mitwahid’s initiatives to host the Ripe Market in Abu Dhabi at Mushrif Central Park,” Mr Al Qadhi said.
In its first year, the market attracted 64 vendors and an average of 5,000 visitors.
The market does not only encourage people to eat healthy food, but it promotes local businesses said, volunteer Rawdha Al Qubaisi.
“We want to give residents who have business ideas, but can’t afford to set up a business, the chance to showcase their creations.”
Ms Al Qubaisi said that out of a total of 64 vendors, about a dozen were residents with a small business. “We try to have different vendors so we can give everyone a chance,” she said.
One of the association’s most exciting initiatives for young sports enthusiast is the “young footballers”.
Beginning next week, children aged between seven to 14 will have the opportunity to train under international coaches from City Football schools for one week at Fujairah Football Club.
“The purpose is to make children fall in love with football, not to train them professionally.
“We want to develop this passion so they can pursue it later on in their lives.” The programme will begin on March 20 and will run for three weeks.
Each week, a group of 50 students divided into two sessions, will get the opportunity to train and fall in love with football, free of charge. “Our programmes are all to support and give back to the community – to unite the house – ‘Al Bayt Mitwahid’,” Mr Qadhi said.
Al Bayt Mitwahid 2016 initiatives
A Microsoft led nationwide coding competition that provides students with the opportunity to build their skills, pursue their business ideas, and/or attain career opportunities in some of the world’s largest entities.
Private Sector Ambassador Programme
A career awareness and development initiative targeting university students that introduces youth to the opportunities in the private sector with internships.
Art for Awareness
An initiative that aims to raise the profile of and funding for Down syndrome by organising an artwork exhibition of people with Down syndrome, followed by an art auction for Emirati artists where the proceeds will go to Emirates Down Syndrome Association.
Al Bayt Mitwahid Park
The 10,100 square metre residential park located near the Al Bayt Mitwahid Majlis in Ras Al Khaimah.
Ajman Cycle Track
A 2.5 kilometre cycling track in a residential neighbourhood.
UAQ Fish Reserve
A development that will provide a primary food source for demersal (bottom-feeding) fish in the area. This will also create a sustainable income for the fishermen. In addition, employees will also help establish an area for line fishing along the Emirate’s coast.
Al Bayt Mitwahid Young Footballers
City Football Schools deliver four, one week-long football training camps and competitions. The camps are free of charge and are eligible for all children between the ages of 7 and 14. To register your children, please send an email to CFS.Abudhabi@cityfootball.com or call 0564205685.