Basketball is Life was hosted by Banyan Tree Al Wadi to bring different cultures together and to teach children to look out for each other, regardless of where they are from.

Saud Mohammed, 12, from Al Rahmah Orphanage, had a fantastic time making an art wall, something he had wanted to do for a long time. Reem Mohammed / The National
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RAS AL KHAIMAH // A bond-building event for orphans and primary school pupils had dozens of youngsters jumping for joy on Friday.

Basketball is Life was hosted by Banyan Tree Al Wadi in Ras Al Khaimah in partnership with World Noor Foundation to bring children of different cultures together and teach them to look out for each other, regardless of where they are from.

“I got six new friends, some of them are Arabs but the most important thing is to make friendships with people,” said 9-year-old John Williams, an Indian pupil who also got to hold a falcon for the first time.

“I am honoured to be here and really appreciate that Banyan Tree allowed us and the orphans to come here for free and do some great stuff,” said John.

Saud Mohammed, an orphan from the Comoros Islands, enjoyed making an art wall, something he had dreamed of. “A long time ago, I had wanted to do art on the wall and, when I took the colour can I was excited,” the 12-year-old said.

The children came from Al Rahmah Orphanage and RAK Academy International Primary School and enjoyed playing basketball with National Basketball Association players, as well as taking part in falconry and artwork.

“We saw there was a gap in bringing cultures together and cultural unity, so it is beautiful to have kids from the orphanage and school all wearing the same T-shirt, all looking the same and learning that it does not matter what your background is and how much money you have or don’t have,” said Elizabeth Donald, a board member at World Noor Foundation. “Teaching them that from a younger age is important.”

Sheikha Fatima Mohammed Al Qasimi, a member of the RAK Ruling Family, came as a guest to support the foundation, the children and to tell people that they are all here for each other.

“It is for a good cause,” Sheikha Fatima said. “A lot of people don’t know we have orphans in the UAE and I think it is a good thing to mix them with other children so they don’t feel they are isolated.

“Having no parents doesn’t mean they don’t have family, their families are other people who care about them.”