11 ways to make a difference to your own life

Here are 11 ways to make a difference to other humans, animals and to your own life. Whether they are small changes or more significant donations, this is your guide to being charitable this World Humanitarian Day.

1. Donate to the Red Crescent Society of the UAE The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was launched in the UAE in 1983 and runs humanitarian aid programs around the world. Help change a life of someone suffering and affected by the wars. Visit rcuae.ae or call 800 733.

2. Build a perfect shoe box care package Most labor workers in the UAE live away from their families for several months at a time and don’t have access to many of the basic needs that we take for granted. Create several small (shoebox sized) care packages for them. Fill the care package with fresh toiletries, socks, phone credit recharge cards, dates, snacks and bottles of fresh clean water and keep a bunch of them handy, so whenever you leave your house and come across anyone on the side of the road pull over and have one handy. It will make their day.

3. Take part in the Sameness Project and distribute water. The Sameness Project is a great cause that help bridge the gap between us and those less fortunate in the country. One of their important initiatives is Water for Workers, where you can volunteer to distribute water bottles to labourers during the summer, and boy is it a hot summer. Join them on their next trip to the labor camps! Visit thesamenessproject.com

4. Sponsor a child. Sponsoring a child involves being financially responsible for his or her educational expenses, sometimes extending to include living expenses too. The payment involved in such programs are in yearly, half yearly or monthly instalments of small amounts. Almost all sponsorship programs give you periodic school progress reports and other details about the child. Some programs also allow you to be in contact with your sponsored child.
International organisations which offer this program include World Vision, Save the Children and Compassion. Monthly payments start from US $30 (Dh110) per month which covers medical check-ups, food, basic education, health and hygiene training and mentoring, none of which would otherwise be accessible to these children. Visit worldvision.in, compassion.com and savethechildren.org

5.The one-stop shop for volunteering in the UAE. ‘Volunteer In UAE’ is a not-for-profit organisation that works with several charities across the country to connect them with volunteers. It is a very simple way to choose from a variety of charities that are close to your heart and let the organization connect you to the right people. To find out more, visit volunteerinuae.com or Email contact@volunteerinuae.com

6. Save your leftovers. Dubai Municipality has launched an amazing campaign to collect leftover food and distribute it to poor and needy families. Combat food waste yourself by packing up leftover foods. Feed someone in need by calling the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality, who will then come and pick up the leftover food, and distribute it to families and individuals in need. The transfer and packaging of food will be done in the safest and healthiest way possible with special vans to keep the food refrigerated. To find out more, visit dm.gov.ae

7. Be charitable while you jet set. You can help a person in need, even as you travel hundreds of miles an hour. The Emirates Airlines foundation provides children all over the world with access to clean food, medicine, housing and education. Help a child in need both on the plane and off. Visit emiratesairlinefoundation.org or email ekfoundation@emirates.com

8. Help improve the life of a labourer. A charity known as Adopt-A-Camp is a pretty well established organisation that reaches out to the labour camps in the UAE. So far Adopt-A-Camp regularly helps out 53 labour camps. That means that over 50,000 men’s lives are being made just a little bit easier. Get involved by donating groceries, toiletries, telephone cards or organise a collection. The cool thing is that the Adopt-A-Camp team are very open to hearing about the different ways you can help. Know more about them here.

9. Practise tolerance. It’s important to take the extra effort to be positive, polite and tolerant. Carry this forward in your life and strive to be understanding and tolerant of people or events around you. Be ready to listen and learn as much as you can. Be open-minded to ideas, even if they make no sense to you at first. Tolerance only comes through understanding and acceptance of things that are new or different.

10. Eat less meat. We should not only be humane to eachother, but to animals as well. As responsible human beings, we should avoid taking lives just because we like eating meat. We have so many options available to us, yet we seem unable to control our appetite for meat. Regardless of your culture or normal eating patterns, eating less meat is easy to bring about and healthier for you. For a start, restrict yourselves to just one or two non-vegetarian meals in a week.

11. Family first. Most of us are extra lucky because our family is alive and well. This World Humanitarian Day, be good to yourself by spending more time with those who love you. Resolve to spend uninterrupted and regular time with extended family and friends every month. Doing this brings you a feeling of belonging and support, and also teaches the younger generation about how important relationships are. Your stress and troubles will become bearable when you have supportive and loving people around you.