Giving back in Dubai

I firmly believe in always giving back to the community I live in as well as the ones I travel to. A place very dear to my heart (in Dubai) is SENSES Centre for Children with Special Needs. Over the last eight years I have had the great honor of visiting, performing for and becoming friends with their staff and residents.

We live an extremely blessed life in Dubai. It is important to not let the glitz and glamour overshadow the beautiful opportunities we have to help others. The word charity is often associated with money but in fact that’s only one category of it.

To quote Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), “Your smile for your brother is charity.” – Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98. 

What a better excuse to spread smiles than International Day of Happiness? On March 20th our Clowns Who Care crew headed back to SENSES Centre to give them a fun show featuring local musicians, a dance party, activities, gifts and of course, snacks with juice!

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If you are interested in getting more involved with the local special needs community, the entire SENSES Centre community is very kind, warm and welcoming. If you’d ever like to help them with their housekeeping and ironing, lead a creative or sports activity, organize an event, do contact them.

I also do a lot of work with Al Noor Centre in Al Barsha. To accommodate their large student body they have a loving team and a very spacious facility. They have annual events supporting the Centre that require help including the Family Fun Fair, Annual Gala, Women’s Luncheon and Holiday Parties.

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Another place I love to visit, and lead workshops at, is Mawaheb from Beautiful People. Mawaheb is an art studio and gallery for adults with special needs nestled in a villa in the Al Fahidi Historical District. Every time I go they are working on new, fantastic projects. From paintings to mosaics to photography to art shows and everything in between. Go visit and support them by purchasing their art, facilitating an activity and attending their events.

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One piece of advice when visiting these precious spaces, LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN YOUR BAG! There is nothing worse than someone going to “help” and only messaging, snap chatting or taking selfies the entire time.

For our Clowns Who Care group we now have a “no selfie” policy. We instead, upon getting permission, have a photographer join us. The photographer joins the festivities in a non-disruptive fashion and in turn gives the photos to the centers we’re visiting as well as the artists who gave their time and passion to keep as a memory. Photos are a positive way to encourage others to get involved, however, one must remember the higher purpose of their visit.

There are many ways to get involved and help make a difference. If you have an idea give one of the many Centers a call. If you aren’t sure, still give them a call and ask what they need help with. Lastly, if you have a talent or lead creative activities and would like to join in the Clowns Who Care fun email

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Photos by Gavin Allana

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