Volunteers help build school in Nepal

UAE volunteers who helped to build a primary school in Nepal say the experience has inspired them to take part in future projects.

A volunteer from Dubai Cares digs foundations for the primary school in Barkamuda, Nepal, which will cater for 150 pupils. The project is part of the group’s Volunteer Globally 2014. Courtesy Dubai Cares
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DUBAI // UAE volunteers who helped to build a primary school in Nepal say the experience has inspired them to take part in future projects.

Sixteen volunteers dug trenches, laid bricks, tied and reinforced steel bars and mixed concrete during a week-long Dubai Cares project to build a primary school for 150 pupils in the village of Barkamuda.

“It renewed a desire in me to extend a helping hand to anyone, anywhere,” said Sultan Karrani, an Emirati.

“A smile of an ambitious child, a look of satisfaction on an optimistic girl’s face, a mother’s joy for a future of her children’s education … those were the most valuable gifts that the people of Barkamuda and the surrounding villages in western Nepal presented to us for our involvement in building a new school.”

The group was part of Volunteer Globally 2014, a Dubai Cares community programme.

The school is part of its mission to eradicate poverty by giving children access to education and organising adult literacy programmes in developing countries.

The team left Dubai on November 8 and worked in Barkamuda and Likma villages, supported by a professional building team from the local community.

They were led by Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive of Dubai Cares.

The team visited a school funded by Dubai Cares in Likma, took part in workshops, met families and learnt skills such as basket weaving from the local Tharu population.

They lived in homes close to the community, which helped them understand their way of life.

“Many of the men and women in our host families did not have any education at all,” said Joshua Nelson, a Canadian volunteer from the UAE.

“This trip reminded me of how blessed I am to live and work in Dubai.”

Mr Nelson said access to education was not readily available to many in Nepal, particularly the Tharu community.

Dubai Cares was launched in September 2007 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

“We were able to maximise interaction with the Barkamuda community and emphasise the influence the school will have on raising a generation of educated youth, who can participate and benefit from a knowledge-based global economy,” Mr Al Gurg said.

“Volunteer Globally offers an opportunity to be part of something unique and affirming.

“The group worked together as a team and undertook activities such as digging, picking, sifting, mixing concrete, making bricks, carrying water and tying rebar.”

He said the project reflected the positive impact of a diverse group when they worked together to help a community in need.

“We hope that this experience highlights the fact that despite differences in geography, religion, social customs, economic standing, we can all help one another and benefit from mutual respect, awareness and education,” Mr Al Gurg said.

For Australian volunteer Michelle Smith, connecting with the local population and working with UAE volunteers from eight different nationalities was a memory she will cherish.

“To me this experience has been super rewarding, being at the worksite with members of the community and having that sense of solidarity,” Ms Smith said.

Dubai Cares partner BuildOn co-managed the volunteer initiative, provided logistical support and monitored the safety and quality of the building.

The work has been recorded as part of a documentary Dubai Cares is producing to record the impact of UAE volunteers in developing countries.