The local organisations doing their bit for the local community
Time Out Bahrain staff
Liz O’Reilly discovers some of the local organisations doing their bit for the community and offering you a chance to do yours.
November 14 is World Diabetes Day and it’s a date that’s particularly important to Hisham Shehabi and the team at www.diabetes.bh as it’s the date they hope the platform will go live in Arabic.
Hisham and a group of friends have been working on diabetes initiatives for the past couple of years getting involved in awareness campaigns, lectures, seminars and sporting events even going so far as to form the Blue Camels, a three-man group which took part in a rickshaw race across India raising diabetes awareness as they went.
One of the biggest projects was the launch of the diabetes.bh platform which is Bahrain’s first online portal for diabetes. Its aims are:
• Education in the prevention and management of diabetes and its related issues
• Providing a support network to the diabetes community of Bahrain which is made up of experienced individuals and professionals in the fields of diabetes and its related issues
• Creating a freely accessible online platform to support national and local initiatives for the prevention and management of diabetes and its related issues.
The platform came about after Hisham and Tarik Al Olaimy got involved in a global entrepreneurship workshop back in 2009. They proposed an idea for a corporate development workshop led by blind people but, when they started looking into it, they realised much of the blindness they were encountering in Bahrain was caused by diabetic retinopathy – a complication of diabetes in which bleeding occurs into the back of the eye.
They decided to concentrate on diabetes and set about developing the online portal which aims to carry info on absolutely everything diabetes-related in the kingdom from gyms – obesity is a known cause of diabetes – to opticians, healthy food options and more.
Earlier in the summer the team submitted an application to the World Summit Youth Awards 2013 which showcases projects from across the globe that serve to tackle the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). It touched on the importance of tackling diabetes as an issue threatening development agendas the world over. And Hisham said: ‘The increasing social, economic and environmental threats posed by diabetes have become a critical national issue for nations like Bahrain and can potentially reverse or negate some of the MDG areas of success achieved thus far.’
Out of 422 applications from 147 countries diabetes.bh was one of 64 which went through to the final evaluation round and in September they were announced as of one of 18 winners who got the chance to present their projects at the World Summit Awards in Sri Lanka in October gaining access to experts and opinion makers and drawing attention to the problem of diabetes in the region. Check out www.diabetes.bh for more information and to see how you can get involved.
Sales and craft fairs
In the run up to the Christmas season you’ll find fairs and sales happening around the island offering a unique selection of gift ideas from hand-made jewellery to pots and crafts as well as the usual pre-loved clothing and suchlike. Most are run by charity groups such as the American Women’s Association (AWA), which has ongoing projects throughout the year, and they offer a set number of tables free for good causes. It’s a great opportunity to pick up some interesting festive gifts at the same time as supporting some of the island’s worthwhile causes – or why not get in touch with your favourite charity (many are featured on our community listings pages) and offer to man a stall. Al Nadha Boutique Designer Sale in aid of the Bahrain Young Ladies Association. November 2, 3, 8 and 9. Call 17 262 237. Awali Craft Fair. Bapco Club, Awali. Saturday, November 23. Call 39 459 217. AWA Snowflake Fair. Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel. Saturday, November 30. Call 38 884 924.
Starting on November 7, a team of intrepid kayakers will be attempting to circumnavigate the island in three days. The sea kayakers from RCSI Bahrain and Amwaj Marina Surfski Club will be aiming to cover 165km to raise both awareness of and funds for the Bahrain Diabetes Society.
RCSI (the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) organises a charity challenge each year and over the coming months will be working with Bahrain Diabetes Society to promote the message ‘Move with us’. There’ll also be a fun fundraising event to welcome the kayakers back to Amwaj Marina from noon on Saturday, November 9. For more details or to sponsor the paddlers visit http://www.rcsibahrain.edu.bh.
Migrant Workers Protection Society
Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) was established in 2005 with a mission to help expatriate workers achieve their basic human rights in accordance with internationally recognised standards.
It’s the only society in the region to work exclusively in support of the expatriate worker community and has more than 40 members from Bahrain, Britain, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the US, all of whom work on a voluntary basis.
The organisation’s main objectives are: • To help educate and guide expatriate workers to understand their rights and their responsibilities.
• To create public awareness about the abuse and exploitation of expatriate workers and to explain the community’s role in combating it.
• To advocate to government authorities and institutions on behalf of the expatriate worker community.
The organisation offers support for victims of abuse or exploitation with: • Temporary shelter accommodation for females, arranging medical treatment and legal services and financing visa fees and airline tickets for repatriation. It provides food, clothing, bedding and toiletries for labourers in need and organises safety awareness programmes.
• MWPS also provides expatriate workers with translators and members are actively engaged in all follow-up work related to their cases.
• There are regular fundraising events throughout the year and volunteers are always welcome to help with the hands-on daily work. For more information visit www.mwpsbahrain.com or call 17 827 895.