A school’s all-round endeavours

GEMS Our Own English School’s varied initiatives and student views reflect the true spirit of education

Plogging is the new fitness trend


By Anam Fatima, Grade 12-I

Swedish ‘plogging’ is the new hot fitness trend. This is a powerful opportunity to consider the health of yourself and the environment while partaking in a group activity with a shared focus.

It is an avenue for staying healthy while engaged in seemingly un-athletic activities. The runners are combining exercise with environmentalism by picking up trash along the way. And it’s catching on. You pick and you jog – hence the term ‘plog.’

Plogging is becoming extremely popular internationally. It is a brilliant idea because it is simple and fun, while empowering everyone to help create cleaner, greener and more beautiful communities. All you need is running gear and a bag for trash or recyclables, and you are not only improving your own health, but your local community too.

Plogging is actually part exercise, part environmental activism. All it involves is jogging while simultaneously stopping to pick up trash. In return for your efforts you’ll be rewarded with a workout for your legs due to your squat movements of stooping down to grab discarded boxes and cans. It is also boost for your soul. After all, you’re helping to protect the environment. The popularity of the trend is also spilling over into other countries. There is now a dedicated plogging community in Paris. Ploggers outfit themselves with a bag for litter and a pair of gloves, and aim to collect at least one bag of trash in the course of their run. Ploggers get their heart rates up by running, the ‘stop-squat-and-pick-up-trash’ motion.

Litter impacts our quality of life and economic development, and often ends up as marine debris, polluting our waterways and oceans and harming wildlife and the environment. However, plogging could have some downsides. The unnatural movements associated with picking up and carrying trash while running could hurt you in the long run. Running with a weight poses more risks than benefits. You can also create strength imbalances and trigger neck or back pain.

But definitely plogging is a new workout craze that is poised to sweep the nation.

Heroes unite: Charity run raises funds

By Vishnupriya S. Grade 12

March 12, 2018: The early hours of Friday morning saw hundreds of people from different walks of life unite to participate in the Superhero Fun Run 2018. This event, organized by the Al Noor Training Centre for persons with disabilities was initiated with the goal of raising funds for the cause of the Determined Ones. The 4 kilometers run was held at the Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities from 7:30 a.m to 9:30 a.m.

A range of activities starting from music and food to fun games allowed the participants to enjoy with their family, colleagues and friends while contributing to a brilliant cause that could create a difference in the lives of many. Entry for the adult heroes were priced at AED100 while the junior superheroes (Ages 10 and below) and the determined ones, a phrase coined by the Dubai Government to address people with special needs, could enter free of cost. All the proceeds from the registrations were donated to the Dubai Charity.

The plethora of events, interactions and enticing prizes created an entertaining day for the hundreds of walkers who participated all while raising awareness and empowering the lives of many.

Museum of the future all set to open in 2019

By Akshara, Grade 12

The UAE is home to an abundant number of magnificent skyscrapers, but Dubai’s new Museum of the Future, takes a pioneering approach to architecture. The oxymoronic name and its torus shape, a glistening silver oval with an open centre, definitely draw attention. The void in the centre of the building represents the unknown. It is a highly futuristic building that pushes the limits of engineering. The Museum of the Future, scheduled to open in 2019, is an innovation that explores the future of science and technology in the modern world.

People who seek to discover the unknown through new technologies and innovations are the true creators of our future. Art and poetry are very evident in the design, with Arabic calligraphy, featuring the quotes of the Prime Minister inscribed onto the exterior of the building. The architect and designer of this incredible feat of engineering, Mr. Shaun Killa, talks about how we can create incredibly complex structures that weren’t even fathomable a mere 30 years ago, with the help of BIM and other technological software. Apart from becoming a major tourist destination, the Museum will offer advanced courses, workshops and most importantly, a platform for inventors to test their latest inventions and prototypes. It is intended to be an incubator for innovation and invention. Its motto is ‘See the future, create the future.’

UAE is determined to be a major contributor to future development in the coming years and this Museum will definitely help the country to achieve this objective.

Mental illness, among other invisible afflictions

By Rithika, Grade 12-E

The physical versus mental health analogies have become commonplace in the argument against social stigma surrounding mental health, but not without reason. The disparity between the treatment and public understanding of mental and physical illness ranges from negative social perceptions to discrimination in health coverage, and is seemingly unfounded because, in loose terms, most mental illnesses are physical. Though the symptoms and effects are psychological in nature, their causes are physical – such as a hormone imbalance, implying the public stigma more likely involves visible and non-visible diseases.

A student battling cancer at the University of Kentucky, US, shared online how her usage of a handicapped parking space was questioned by strangers who posted hate messages on her car simply as she wasn’t visibly handicapped. The thousands of Facebook and WhatsApp chain messages that claim depression isn’t real and happiness can be achieved by thinking differently or spending time in the sun do more to trivialize and belittle sufferers of the illness, and also imply that depression is the only disorder that causes unhappiness.

Though many scoff that children can’t be mentally ill – 10 per cent of minors’ lives are disrupted by their mental and emotional disorders. These conditions can worsen if they aren’t diagnosed or treated at the earliest, and impact the rest of their lives. It could also negatively influence their academic performance and social interactions. Zayed University, in 2016, opened counselling centres for students, and Rashid Hospital and the Louis Smith Foundation host support groups and seminars on the topic.

Optimistic and mindful thinking can influence mental disorders but by no means are panaceas. Mental disorders require professional treatment and care for a prolonged period of time, and most cannot be treated or removed completely, but managed.

Mental health awareness in the UAE is high with the increasing emphasis on happiness. Several efforts such as walks for mental health awareness and affordable therapy are already under way.

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