Friendships are forged across the generations in Sharjah as student volunteer Ali Al Baluoshi gets to know Abduljalil Ghanem. For the senior citizens, the visits bring companionship and conversation while the young enjoy perspectives on their nation’s past. Victor Besa for The National.
Friendships are forged across the generations in Sharjah as student volunteer Ali Al Baluoshi gets to know Abduljalil Ghanem. For the senior citizens, the visits bring companionship and conversation wShow more

Sharjah volunteers bring smile to faces of elderly

SHARJAH // Volunteers and students from across Sharjah and beyond are bringing laughter into the lives of senior citizens.

The volunteers, some from as far afield as Al Ain, have been visiting elderly Emiratis living at a senior citizens’ home in Al Qaraen each week to spend time with them.

Sharjah Social Services Department launched the visits as the majority of the residents do not have immediate family members who call regularly.

The volunteers – some as young as three years old – sing traditional songs and quiz each other with old Emirati riddles that the elderly residents teach them.

Many visitors take tea and sweets while talking and sharing stories of fishing, hunting and pearl diving with the residents, recounting the Emirati way of life in days past.

Mohammed Abbas, who was born in 1942, has been living at the seniors’ home for seven years.

“When they come in, they bring in their energy, loud voices and laughter, they bring life to the place, and there is nothing more that we enjoy here more than their visits,” said the 74-year-old.

“Some of them visit us several times, and we have made friends with them. We talk about their news and ours, what is going on their lives and we provide them with advice and share our stories.

“Sometimes we give them old Emirati riddles to solve, and they take a lot of time trying to figure it out, without luck, before we share the answer with them.”

Forty-one Emiratis live at the seniors home, among them 18 women, some of whom were undergoing treatment and physical therapy.

The centre takes residents to aquariums, museums and malls in Dubai and Sharjah, the seniors said that while they enjoy the outings, time with the students and volunteers is their favourite.

Alia Al Shamsi, an employee at Sharjah Immigration, has been volunteering for four years.

“Some of them need just a little nudge and a couple of sweet words and they will open up to you. They share their stories and, the more you interact with them, the more they open up to you,” said the 31-year-old Emirati.

“We need to let them know that they are not forgotten, that we are their family and their children, and that we love and care for them so much.”

Sabir Ibrahim, who has lived in the home for five years, said he enjoyed laughter and music as the children played musical chairs.

“What better sound to hear than children’s laughter? The way they run around the chairs and seeing them dance the traditional Yola dance” said the 81-year-old.

“Some of us have families. However, they don’t visit us much – some don’t visit at all. The students’ visits to the centre make up for it.”

Ali Al Baloushi drove from Al Ain to join the residents.

“They love to talk to us, and you feel that they enjoy spending time with you. It is a great way to be able to change their daily routine,” said the 20-year-old.

While the centre homes Emiratis aged 60 or more, there were a few exceptions.

Tariq Rashid, 58, has called the place home for a year and he agreed that the visits were a highlight. “During summer, the number of visitors intensifies, and that is very much needed, while during the academic year, pupils from various schools in Sharjah visit, as well as university students,” he said.

For more information, call the home on 065078740.


Stage Two:

1. Mark Cavendish (GBR) QuickStep-AlphaVinyl 04:20:45

2. Jasper Philipsen (BEL) Alpecin-Fenix

3. Pascal Ackermann (GER) UAE Team Emirates

4. Olav Kooij (NED) Jumbo-Visma

5. Arnaud Demare (FRA) Groupama-FDJ

General Classification:

1. Jasper Philipsen (BEL) Alpecin-Fenix 09:03:03

2. Dmitry Strakhov (RUS) Gazprom-Rusvelo 00:00:04

3. Mark Cavendish (GBR) QuickStep-AlphaVinyl 00:00:06

4. Sam Bennett (IRL) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:10

5. Pascal Ackermann (GER) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:12


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).


Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

if you go

The flights 

Etihad and Emirates fly direct to Kolkata from Dh1,504 and Dh1,450 return including taxes, respectively. The flight takes four hours 30 minutes outbound and 5 hours 30 minute returning. 

The trains

Numerous trains link Kolkata and Murshidabad but the daily early morning Hazarduari Express (3’ 52”) is the fastest and most convenient; this service also stops in Plassey. The return train departs Murshidabad late afternoon. Though just about feasible as a day trip, staying overnight is recommended.

The hotels

Mursidabad’s hotels are less than modest but Berhampore, 11km south, offers more accommodation and facilities (and the Hazarduari Express also pauses here). Try Hotel The Fame, with an array of rooms from doubles at Rs1,596/Dh90 to a ‘grand presidential suite’ at Rs7,854/Dh443.


Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and


Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now



Date started: December 2015

Founders: Kerem Kuyucu and Cagatay Ozcan

Sector: Technology and home services

Based: Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai

Size: 55 employees and 100,000 cleaning requests a month

Funding:  The company’s investors include Collective Spark, Faith Capital Holding, Oak Capital, VentureFriends, and 500 Startups. 

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

'Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World’s Sole Superpower'
Michael Beckley, Cornell Press


Real Madrid 3 (Kroos 4', Ramos 30', Marcelo 37')

Eibar 1 (Bigas 60')

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★


Director: Carol Mansour

Starring: Aida Abboud, Carol Mansour

Rating: 3.5./5

Most Read
Top Videos

The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today