Adopt-a-Camp: Giving back and gaining more

??????Being able to give is a priceless luxury. I had the chance to participate in July at the Adopt-a-Camp (AAC) initiative in Dubai, which aims at meaningfully improving the lives of the men who build the beautiful cities we live in and through them, to reach out and aid the diverse communities from which they come.

It was great to have the opportunity to get involved in something which can help people, not just by encouraging monetary donations but also making time for some hands-on involvement. Being able to give in this way helps build a social connection which is important in such diverse communities.

AAC has been working with laborers in labor camps for 8 years and currently has 50 camps and 43,700+ men under its wing. The Corporate Responsibility committee at Deloitte Corporate Finance Limited based in Dubai decided to support Adopt-a-Camp as our Ramadan initiative and organized a firm wide dress-down day and bake sale before the start of Ramadan. All funds donated by the staff were generously matched by Deloitte Corporate Finance Limited in the Middle East. We sponsored 23 packages comprising products aimed at improving the lives of laborers in the UAE, where 8 Deloitte Financial Advisory Services member volunteers assembled and loaded the care packages.

The Adopt-a-Camp initiative is quite a lengthy process with 3 months of planning, rallying donations, around 10,000 volunteers and 5000 packages handed out to laborers across Dubai. This, I believe, is the largest community-involved charity event of the year in Dubai. For someone who struggles with organizing a simple dinner party, I truly commend the team who faced this huge task.

The 2-day event was designed to assemble care packages for laborers which include food for a month, toiletries to last 3 months and other items to help them improve their living standards such as towels, pillows, linens, socks, etc. This had another meaning to me as well as it was done in the spirit of Ramadan and the generosity it encourages. The opportunity to indulge in Ramadan Iftars and all night shopping gets a lot of airtime, and I believe that balancing that with such initiatives is important.

The atmosphere at the Adopt-a-Camp was truly positive with a palpable feeling of volunteers wanting to be useful and engaged. There were several stations and tasks allocated such as unloading trucks, managing the supply area and setting up tables, which all merged into a single operation with everyone taking on more than was their initial assignment. Although we were there as part of the corporate team and represented Deloitte, it didn’t prevent me from being told off by a very young girl, aged around 9, for being in her way… I effectively got served.

Hundreds of people of all age groups had one thing in common that day. To give back. And that is what corporate responsibility is all about. It is all about giving back and gaining more!

by: Lamisse Muhtaseb, human resources head, Deloitte Corporate Finance Limited

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