Five high school students from the UAE have developed new initiatives designed to support their local communities through meaningful and impactful engagement. From a drone maker with a social conscience, to a recycling activist, among others, these students have been inspired by the ethos and vision of the UAE, enshrined in The Year of Giving 2017, to realize their full potential through their personal drive and dedication.
The Year of Giving 2017 is about strengthening social responsibility, promoting the spirit of volunteerism and undertaking genuine services to help both local society and internationally. These students, who all demonstrate a strong commitment to community service, were mentored by their counselors at Hale Education Group as they prepare to apply to US universities.
Maryam Ehtesham, a Pakistani student from Sharjah, kick-started her neighborhood’s very first recycling initiative. Maryam has been volunteering with Emirates Environmental Group since 2010, and decided to encourage her neighbors and relatives to integrate recycling into their lifestyle by adopting four distinct recycling bins for paper, plastic, beverage cartons, and cans.
Another student has been actively engaged with United Nations initiatives. Darianne De Anda a Mexican student living in Dubai, co-founded the first Girl Up chapter at her school. Girl Up is a United Nations Foundation working to improve the lives of girls around the world, while raising awareness about the global problem of gender inequality. The Girl Up chapter has promoted events such as Girl Hero Day, and started its own charitable movement by helping provide female Lebanese refugees with basic life necessities such as toiletries, clothes, and food.
Another Hale Education Group student who dreams of becoming an actuarial scientist in order to help developing countries manage risk effectively, successfully founded the charity ‘Cricket for a Cause’. Ashar Yahya is a Pakistani student at Dubai College and founded the first charity cricket league in Dubai. Last Ramadan, he raised nearly AED 55,000 (USD 15,000) for Dubai Cares and securing sponsorship from big brand names such as Pepsi, Red Bull, Du, and Pringles.
The high school student innovators see opportunities for community development in a range of ways: Dhruv Karthik created a drone that can effectively navigate indoor environments and understand their surroundings as a tool for the emergency services, and Vania Constantinou has founded a club to teach staff members in her school community English.
Peter Davos, Founder of Hale Education Group, explains “We encourage the students to identify how they can stand out as residents of the UAE and add value to the community they live in; it is not simply about having a strong college application; it is about the students demonstrating a sense of social responsibility, leadership, and personal growth, which are indeed qualities that university admissions officers look for.” Davos adds, “The Year of Giving 2017 is a worthy initiative from the UAE government that reinforces the qualities and attributes of a socially conscious individual. For our students, it’s important to have more than just academic qualifications, they must show a consistent commitment to demonstrating the softer skills by thinking of others to make a better society.”
*Notes: Please refer to document ‘Hale Innovators’ for additional information on the students.
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