ABU DHABI //Emirati students had the experience of a lifetime on a humanitarian trip to Zambia.
The group of 13 men and women studying engineering, education or foundation courses at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), had their eyes opened by helping to care for children with disabilities in the capital, Lusaka.
"The biggest lesson I learnt is that people always need assistance from other people," said Aysha al Marri, a 23-year-old studying education. "People have to support each other, and this was my chance to touch another community and learn about their culture."
The group, led by staff from Oasis Hospital in Al Ain, helped reorganise the filing system and arranged medical supplies over 10 days last month at Beit Cure International Hospital, a paediatric teaching establishment specialising in caring for children with disabilities.
"I think it was a challenge for the students, but they really liked it," said Abeer al Kalbani, a manager at Oasis Hospital. Oasis is part of Cure International, a US non-profit group and one of the leading providers of speciality paediatric surgical care in the developing world.
The students also spent time with patients and their families, as well as handing out toys donated by Oasis Hospital.
"We went to help people and I learnt many things about myself and about what it means to help people who are poor," said Mohammed al Yabhouni, 18, who plans to study engineering at HCT.
Ms al Marri added: "The trip brought out something inside of me that I can't explain very well. But I would love to have this experience again."