Children fill 300 shoeboxes with essentials for labourers building their sports centre

Parents came up with the idea of filling boxes with toothpaste, shampoos, towels and other items for the labourers.

Students of KG 1 gift shoeboxes to the labourers who are working on their site at the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
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DUBAI // Children have handed out hundreds of shoeboxes packed with essentials to labourers working on construction of new facilities at their school.

In all, boxes filled with toothpaste, shampoos, towels and other items were donated to 300 workers by pupils at the Swiss International Scientific School, in Al Jaddaf, on Wednesday.

Sabah Rashid, head of primary school, said the donation was inspired by a group of parents who wanted to help workers currently building the school’s sports centre. It also coincided with the first day of UAE labourers’ midday break, which will continue for three months.

“We enquired into the process and the parents decided that a shoebox appeal would be the best way of doing our bit for these workers,” she said.

The boxes were filled with a range of toiletries as well as items such as phone cards.

The labourers were also given bags containing food items including biscuits, water, dates and fruit-flavoured cordial drinks.

“In the morning the pupils gathered for assembly and we gave them all a box and bag to hand out,” said Ms Rashid.

“We then started the hand outs and it was wonderful to see the reaction from both the pupils and the workers.”

The collection of all the items took place over a two-week period to allow the children to fill the boxes with the required items.

“The parents, pupils and staff really wanted to do something as a way of saying thank you for these men who are working to build new facilities for our school,” said Ms Rashid.

The school has about 300 pupils aged four to 12.

Ryan Razawi, 12, from the US, was among the pupils who took part in the shoebox donation.

“It was really nice because you could see how happy the men were when we were giving out the boxes,” he said.

“They have a very difficult job, especially when they are working outside in the heat, so anything we can do to help is good.”

Ryan used his pocket money to buy a phone card and some other items that went into the shoebox.

“It was good to give something back, especially during Ramadan, and I hope it will make it a little easier for them,” he said.

Julia Mello, 11, from Brazil, is a new arrival to Dubai and is experiencing her first Ramadan.

“I really wanted to help the workers because, even when it’s really hot, they are outside working,” she said.

“It was amazing to see the reactions from the workers when we were handing out the boxes.

“They had such big smiles on their faces. Unfortunately, I don’t think they could speak English, so I couldn’t talk to them but you could tell that they were really happy about it.”