Nation-building students prefer working summer to taking it easy

Instead of topping up their tans on the beach, some school and university students have spent their summer learning new skills at home and overseas.
Viktoriya Kandyla leads a yoga class for some of the youngest campers at the Junior Gym during summer camp. Delores Johnson / The National
Viktoriya Kandyla leads a yoga class for some of the youngest campers at the Junior Gym during summer camp. Delores Johnson / The National

AJMAN // While their classmates are topping up their tans on the beach or binge-watching DVD box sets, a group of school and university students has spent their summer break learning skills at home or helping out with charity initiatives overseas.

In Umm Al Quwain, about 250 Emirati students aged from eight to 18 took part in the Summer of My Country programme, where they learned nursing, first aid and computer skills as well as finding out about life in the Armed Forces.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, took to social media to praise the students.

“We felt proud as we saw sons and daughters of the nation utilising their summer vacation in useful activities,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote on his Twitter account.

“We want military, educational and cultural activities that help build capabilities of the students and instil patriotism, values and ethics in them.”

Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, commended Sheikh Mohammed’s tweet and urged parents to prepare their children for a new academic year.

“This call requires that activities be carefully studied and future summer programmes be prepared so as to benefit from, and build on, this successful experience,” he said on his Twitter account.

Maryam Al Ali, events and activities coordinator at the UAQ Cultural Centre, part of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, said: “Every summer we hold the programme where students of all ages and nationalities learn various activities.

“Each government organisation holds activities for students. These events help students increase their skills, develop talents and their role in society.

In addition, the ministry supports the talented students, which increases their self-confidence and encourages them to do more and do their best,” said Ms Al Ali.

Mariam Al Ghuss, an Emirati Grade 9 pupil, said when she was not travelling abroad with her family during summer she enrolled in the summer programme.

“I love participating. I can present my talent in handicrafts and recycling and learn new techniques that develop my hobby,” said the 13-year-old, who created a handbag from old magazines and sacks and photo frames decorated with legumes.

Maitha bin Sarm, 13, and her sister Alia, 12, usually spend their summer down time at home drawing and learning Arabic calligraphy. The programme was a chance to hone their skills as well as learning new ones.

“Every summer I participate in this programme to develop my painting. At home, whatever I see on TV or the internet I paint. I spend around four hours on each one,” said the Emirati Grade 8 student.

Alia, a Grade 7 pupil, shares her sister’s passion.

“I love Arabic calligraphy because it is a beautiful art and I can create a word or two. The two-month programme has added to me more skills and ideas.”

Some youngsters, like Jordanian senior civil engineering student Qais Abu Asabeh, used their time off from classes to do good aboard.

Qais travelled to Thailand to donate clothes to poor families along with a group of 10 friends.

“My friends and I decided to travel to Thailand for a vacation, but we also wanted to do something helpful for poor people. We brought them clothes and shoes as well as collecting money from other friends.

“It was an amazing experience as we spent a week with poor families in village. We felt we were doing something helpful when we saw the smiles on the kids’ faces,” said the 23-year-old.

Published: August 19, 2016 04:00 AM


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