Over the past few months, a group of men and women who usually get together to play badminton, has set aside their rackets to help people in need amid the current health crisis. Since early April, the Dubai Badminton group has been reaching out to Filipino families as well as other expat nationalities who do not have jobs or have lost their jobs, but desire to remain in the UAE.
Human Resources Consultant, Loreli Perez, and her husband John established a system that matches Dubai badminton clubs with volunteers that live near people in need. Currently the group has helped over 3400 individuals and more than 150 children. Majority of these people are Filipinos, while some families are from Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.
Among the items they have given are medicines, diapers, milk, baby food, rice, noodles, cooking oil, and other essentials and groceries.
Dubai Badminton Group Delivers Relief Goods to Jobless Expats
The group has been helping families across Dubai, and has also extended assistance to people in Sharjah, Ajman, Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain, The National reported. The group had registered to gather and distribute food supplies, as part of an initiative launched by Dubai authorities.
In March, the Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched “Your City Needs You,” a programme that encourages citizens and residents to volunteer and help by signing up through the “Day for Dubai” app.
Reaching Out to Families with Babies in Need of Basic Nutrition and Support
One of the concerning issues we are facing especially as expats have lost their jobs are parents who are not able to feed their children with proper nutrition and basic items. It’s really a heart-breaking situation as a parent not to be able to feed their child because of being jobless.
A number of parents have been seeking assistance to kind-hearted individuals in the group and generous donors have also extended their support.
The couple shared that people cry when they receive the food, and also when they call and ask for help. She mentioned that more food is needed, and they try to match these with the volunteers who are ready to distribute to families who need help. Parking lots and neighbourhood supermarkets are usually designated as the meeting place for handing over the items.
Apart from connecting donors with recipients, Loreli and the team also repack relief goods and distribute these goods to people who desperately need them.
We were able to join one of their outreach programs when the group visited two labour accommodations (male and female camps) and distribute relief goods to staff who were terminated from their work.
Connecting through Facebook
Communication is done through the Facebook group, “Dubai Badminton Together Against Covid19,” which has a waiting list of people in need of assistance. Basically, people who contact the group to make a request are matched with volunteers.
For his part, John said that people need support while they look for new jobs. This involves prioritizing distribution based on people’s needs. As an example, he shared that when they posted about a couple with a baby in Karama who needed food — in just a few minutes, a donor contacted the group to extend their help.
Aside from distributing food and essential items, the group has also been organising Facebook chats with lawyers and travel agency representatives, who would share information about the UAE Labour Law and visa extensions.
How You Can Help
According to Loreli, they are lucky to have the badminton community, which has stepped up to help. Nonetheless, they would still like to inspire more people to come forward and help provide food for families in need.
If you are inspired to help, and would like to extend your support to our kababayans who need it the most, please visit the Facebook group page, Dubai Badminton Together Against Covid19. Together, let us build a stronger community and help one another as we face the current health crisis.
One more thing, no matter how small your donation may be, it is greatly appreciated and welcomed. We are helping fellow families/expats in the UAE who are suffering so all donations are welcome. So please do not hesitate to reach out!