•October 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment
CDA opens Thukher Social Club to enhance social life of elders
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Oct 29, 2014
DUBAI: The Community Development Authority (CDA) has opened the first-of-its-kind social club for elders to enjoy their enormous spare time and the facilities incorporated by the authority as part of their initiative to give importance to elders.
The Thukher Social Club in Dubai was inaugurated by Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in the presence of Khaled Al Kamda, the director-general of CDA and senior officials in Al Barsha, Dubai on Tuesday as the first elderly social club in the UAE.
The club is an initiative of the CDA that aims to improve elders’ inclusion in all social activities and events, through encouraging additional number of local elders to change their lifestyle and occupy their spare time with things they like and enjoy.
Talking to The Gulf Today, Khaled Al Kamda pointed that it’s the first social club and soon such facilities will also be set up in other parts of the emirates to benefit the local elders to recognise their services towards the society.
“In this facility, we are going to ask the community’s youngsters to volunteer their time for these elders as every single elder has much to share,” he said.
The social club has been designed to fulfil the interests and desires of the national elders. Thukher includes several dedicated sections for traditional handcrafts, traditional folk games, a library containing books and computer tablets to display e-books and research, a private lounge for elders’ gatherings and discussions, a health club, a massage room and a barber shop.
Additionally, the club includes a rehabilitation area to revitalise their memories using certain tools that maintain the concentration of the elderly and help him to move his limbs. The club is also designed for outdoor activities and includes a mosque and service rooms.
Sheikh Mansoor learned from the Thukher team about the programmes and the plans will be executed to improve the elders’ participation in social activities, interacting with the young generation, and transferring their knowledge and experience to the youth.
“This initiative supports our core objectives in CDA and is part of our strategic plans to change the lifestyle of the elders to be more positive and joyful,” said Al Kamda.
“We don’t believe in shelters and it doesn’t belong to our culture to isolate the elders, we want to encourage their contribution to all our life aspects and we want to facilities this contribution.
This club is the first of its kind in the UAE and will allow a good environment for elders to practise their hobbies and meet each other and learn about life developments. And most importantly, it will find a new channel to improve the connections between them and the youth, and transfer their knowledge and experience.”
•October 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Pakistani expats want high-tech smart cards to be free of charge
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Oct 26, 2014
DUBAI: Pakistan expatriates have asked the government to start issuance of new Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistani (SNICOP) free of charge while measures to improve the services at the consulate should also be taken on a serious note. Besides this, a huge number of community members are showing great interest to get new cards.
The government of Pakistan has initiated the overseas operations in different countries for expatriates to get new computerised improved identity cards with the facility of storing vital personal information through the integrated computer chip.
The issuing of SNICOP in Dubai was launched last month for those who wish to get new cards to replace their expired National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) at a fee of Dhs128 for normal application service while two other options of Dh147 for urgent, and Dh165 for the executive category were also available.
On the launch of the new service, Javed Jalil Khattak, consul general, mentioned that presently it was an optional service but with the passage of time it will be the only choice as the facilities attached to the new card will be applicable.
Recently, while talking to The Gulf Today at the consulate in Dubai, a number of visiting community members applauded the new service but also raised eyebrows on different issues. Quraish Abdullah, a resident of Ajman, pointed that politicians on various forums acknowledged the services of Pakistani expats for playing a huge role in the country’s economy but in return never announced support.
“Now the time has come for government officials to make sure that the services like renewal of passports, national identity cards, family registration and other services being available to the Pakistani expatriates in the UAE should be free and on fast track,” he added.
One expatriate suggested the embassy and consulate staff should conduct a survey among the community members to know the satisfaction level and suggestions to improve overall the arrangements.
“Pakistanis are present all over the UAE and those who are residing for their work in areas like the Northern Emirates of Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Khorfakkan, Dhaid and others have to take a day off to visit the consulate in Dubai, which is a huge loss for many especially the blue collar workers,” Farman Saeed, a construction worker, pointed.
The officials at the Pakistan mission in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have made numerous announcements in the past to start consul services in the Northern Emirates periodically but it only happened for very brief periods.
Responding to a question, the officials at the consulate made clear that a mobile service to issue SNICOP for community members in Northern Emirates will be started in 2 weeks as final arrangements are underway.
“A formal announcement will be made soon to inform the community,” the official said. Currently it’s mandatory for all Pakistani expatriates with Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC) to obtain the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) prior to travel to any overseas destination for job purposes. With the issuing of new smart identity card to be valid for only 7 years, both cards will be replaced with it to offer different services like health insurance, driving licence and others.
•October 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Employees in Diwali mood dress to the nines
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Oct 24, 2014
DUBAI: A large number of employees and their family members, especially young children, celebrated Diwali, one of the biggest Indian festivals, the “Festival of Lights”.
The event, in which not only the young staff members of ITL Cosmos Group showed their talent of singing, dance and other entertainment skills but also some tried their luck hard and won gifts to brighten their festive mood more.
The event was held at the India Club, Oud Metha, Dubai as the members of ITL Cosmos Group, one of the oldest firms in the country which recently completed 60 years, made this event permanent as an annual event to bring all the staff and their family members under one roof.
As an annual event, all staff members comprised of different nationalities like the Philippines and others, fully prepared a number of entertainment activities like quiz games and others for the Diwali party, as the event always builds great friendship and harmony among all staff and family members.
Dr Ram Buxani, Chairman of the Group, wished everybody on this occasion and in his speech highlighted the importance of the event.
“Diwali, an ancient festival of lights that is celebrated every year on the New Moon Day according to the lunar calendar in the month of Kartik, is a symbolic celebration of wealth and prosperity.
“It also celebrated for the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness,” he said.
However, the event was also marked with a cultural programme as a number of amateur singers showcased their talent while dance competitions were also held.
The tunes were very much significant to the festival as young children in new clothes, and girls in shimmering jewellery, brightened the mood.
•October 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Top Pakistani artist highlights importance of performing arts
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Oct 20, 2014
DUBAI: Performing arts are one of the best modes of communication to educate and raise awareness on certain issues especially in the communities where people have less education. Parents should encourage their young children, especially students, to adopt performing arts at an early age.
This was stated by the well-known Pakistani artist and performer, Sheema Kermani, while talking to The Gulf Today in Dubai on Sunday. Kermani has been known for her services in performing arts as well as advocating women issues through her non-profit organisation, Tehrik-e-Niswan (Women’s Movement) established in 1979 in Karachi.
Through the platform of the organisation, she along with a group of other women activists regularly conduct workshops taking up issues like “violence against women”, “Chaddar and Chardiwari” and others on different platforms while also conducting theatrical performances to highlight women’s related issues and raising awareness among masses.
The group led by Kermani consists of young girls and boys performing dance, drama and music as theatre and street shows not only in different parts of Pakistan but also to critical acclaim all over the world including the USA, the UK, different European Union countries, India, Bangladesh, Iraq and Korea.
Responding to a question, she pointed out that the Tehrik-e-Niswan (Women’s Movement) has developed strong alliances with other organisations that work for the empowerment of women at the grassroots level.
“Since the last 10 years the organisation has been associated with Pakistan National Forum for Women’s Health as well as worked with the National Health Association in the US to tour in performances all over the US for the purposes of generating funds for Koohi Goth in Karachi.”
She said they struggle to spread peace, justice and equality through their theatre performances and are striving to set up a huge Culture Centre in Karachi, as the shows raise funds throughout the year. “Our aim is to set up a place where people can easily perform their cultural shows and spread the message of peace. We want to raise enough funds in the next two years to start work on this unique but long awaited project to benefit a large segment of the society. The Culture Centre will provide professional cultural education through training and specialised workshops as well as giving the city of Karachi a much needed performance space in the form of an auditorium,” she told.
Kermani’s organisation is involved in a two-year campaign with international organisations to create awareness about health issues related to women, especially in low-income and rural areas. “Through this campaign, the group under the organisation will be creating and performing street theatre and highlighting these issues, followed by workshops by specialists and other medical professionals to educate and counsel,” she added.
She, along with her troupe, also performed at Ducat in the Mall of the Emirates on Saturday night and enthralled a mixed audience from different Asian countries through her classical dance and theatre performances.
•October 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Rufi’s Dhs700m properties to complete in 2017
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Oct 20, 2014
DUBAI: Dubai has been witnessing a sustainable growth in the real estate market, which is reflecting the government’s visionary initiatives introduced in the sector by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA).
The under-construction residential projects started by Rufi Properties in Dubai Sports City worth Dhs700 million will be completed in 2017 to deliver 2 million square feet to its wide range of customers.
This was stated by Mehroz Rufi, CEO Rufi Properties in an exclusive interview with the ‘The Gulf Today’.
The prominent Pakistani builder in Dubai has been playing a vital role in the local real estate as currently 5 high-rise residential projects are under way in different stages to cater the huge demand of residential needs of local community in the emirate.
“We are going to start 3 more huge residential projects in Dubai Sports City in the next couple of months. All projects worth Dhs700 million, will be completed in 2017, which will prove that we are one of the largest investors in the sports city,” he said.
He pointed that the Dubai real estate market is 100 per cent stable, and that is why the emirate became hub of the international investors. “All milestones in the Dubai resulted the winning of the Expo 2020 and we are optimistic about the sustainable growth for a long time,” he added.
Rufi stated that they have been developing real estate projects in Dubai since 2004.
However, Rufi Properties has been engaged in a large number of affordable budget housing solutions in Pakistan and vowed to continue their service for the middle income group in this market which has a huge potential.
The real estate firm has been engaged in a number of residential projects to deliver various prominent projects in Pakistan for the last couple of decades.
•October 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Pakistani community in UAE to celebrate Malala’s Nobel accolade
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Oct 19, 2014
SHARJAH: The youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousufzai from Pakistan, has been making headlines all over the world since the announcement of the world’s prestigious award.
Members of the Pakistani community residing in Dubai, Sharjah and other emirates are all set to hold a meeting to laud the efforts of the young activist and register their appreciation for the girl who made the nation proud.
“It was great news for every Pakistani and especially people belong to Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa province from where she hails,” said Nizar Yousufzai, the organiser of the meeting while talking to The Gulf Today on Saturday. He added that “the UAE has a huge number of expatriates from the Swat Valley as well as other parts of the Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa province besides other parts of the country, and desired to laud the girl activist on a platform to show the world about their feelings.”
The meeting, which will be attended by the representatives of different social bodies of Pushtoon community residing in the UAE besides the general public, will be held at the Pakistan Social Centre Sharjah on Thursday, Oct.23, at 7pm.
During the meeting the representatives of various social bodies of the Pushtoon community will highlight the efforts of Malala Yousufzai in their speeches while a huge cake will be cut to celebrate the award to the young Nobel laureate.
Gulmakai, 17, has been known by her pseudonym Malala Yousafzai, adopted in 2009 while she started writing a blog for BBC from Swat Valley against the Taliban who were against education for girls. For her advocacy for women’s education, she was attacked by
the Taliban and injured. She was later sent to the UK for further treatment and started advocating women’s education all over the world.
“The event to celebrate the announcement of Malala’s Nobel award will be a huge success as members from all prominent Pushtoon bodies agreed to take part,” said Nizar Yousufzai, who has been known for his social activities in the community.
He further pointed that there are elements in the community who raised various objections to Malala’s award and her role in advocating female education but as a nation we are giving a plain message to the world through this event that the whole Pushtoon community is one and happy on her winning the Nobel Award as the youngest recipient in the world.
It should be noted that the Nobel Peace Prize was announced jointly to Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi.
•October 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Duo win Camp Ka Champ title
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Oct 19, 2014
DUBAI: The 8th edition of the singing competition for the labour community in the country, Camp Ka Champ, has registered a new history as a duo from a local company won the title, thereby enabling their company to grab the title for the fifth time.
The finals of Camp Ka Champ were held in the Jiwin Complex in Sonapur, Dubai and witnessed a huge turnout of over 8,000 workers from Dubai and Sharjah, many of whom were brought by their companies to see the finals.
The winners were Kushal Sunar, a cleaning supervisor from Nepal, and Mohammed Shakeel Ali, a crane operator from India, who sang their way to the top spot in the final of Camp Ka Champ 2014 and took their company ETA to the top spot in the region’s biggest and only singing contest for the 5th time in the 8-year history of the contest, which is organised by Right Track Advertising.
The duo clinched the winner trophy after beating over 3,200 contestants who took part in the auditions, of whom just 160 made it to the quarter-finals and 6 to the final. They won money vouchers, home appliances, air tickets and mobile phones. The 1st runnerup position was won by the team from IFFCO (Qayamuddin and Hamza Patel) and the 2nd runnerup position went to Al Naboodah (Munsif Ali Mir and Mohd Zafar).
Western Union Camp ka Champ 2014 started in June and covered over 100 accommodations across the UAE. Nine sets of quarter-finals were conducted in Dubai during September leading up to the final. This year Right Track Advertising introduced several new initiatives in the contest and expanded participation to cover residents of 7 different nationalities, special talent segments for residents with skills in instrumental music, mimicry, dance and poetry.
For the first time, by popular demand, an English song competition segment – Camp ka Champ Unplugged –was also introduced.
Western Union, the title sponsor of “Western Union Camp Ka Champ” has been associated with the activity since its inception.
According to Marc Aubry, Western Union Vice President, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and CIS, “Western Union has been associated with ‘Camp Ka Champ’ since its inception in 2007 as a means to engage with our customers in the UAE. An event that is homegrown and showcases some of the hidden talents within the various communities across the emirates.”
Vinod Kumar, Director, Right Track Advertising, the contest organisers, said, “Western Union Camp Ka Champ is a platform that empowers and entertains the talented labour community in the UAE! The standard of entries we get improves each year as contestants get better and we expect that trend to continue. We are passionate about it and believe that this is one way of giving back to the people who build Dubai.”