Dubai community collects stationery for children in need

‘Smile’ initiative launched by expat mums now involves children and parents in collecting half-used stationery and linen

The beautifully-designed stationery pouches are donated to needy children in various countries.

Dubai: A new initiative launched by a group of expat mothers at the Green Community is encouraging children to take part in a charitable cause by donating additional stationery to children in need around the world.

The initiative called ‘Smile’, which started off as a CAS project among mothers, gradually expanded, inviting children from around Dubai through Facebook to get involved in collecting used or new stationery, creating pouches for the stationery, beautifying the pouches, packaging, and then gifting them.

“When 50 children reach out to another 50 that is 100 children creating a bond and when they play it forward, they create a world of friendship,” Dipika Kalra, co-organiser of the initiative with Arathi Kushalapa, told Gulf News.

Kalra pointed out the initiative welcomes used stationery and unwanted linen, and follows the moto “Smile, and the world smiles with you”.

The initiative, started in October 2017 by placing a Smile box in the green community library where residents could drop off their stationery and linen.

Soon after, the organisers placed smaller boxes for sorting out the different stationery, and started brainstorming packaging ideas.

“We had thought of stitching pouches but we got donated a huge amount. Besides which the Rags to Riches project (another community charity group) donated many pouches to us,” said Kalra.

The initiative attracted students, residents, friends, and members at the Emirates Golf Club and football club (Precor), who began collecting stationery, sorting them into pouches and taking the responsibility of delivering them to different countries where children are in need.

“Over the last five months, we have had people from the community take more than 400 pouches to different parts of the world such as India (Goa, Coorg, Nagarhole, Mumbai, Delhi), Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda,” said Kalra.

Along with helping the children in need of stationary, the initiative also works on recycling old linen and half-used stationery, while involving families in the process of spreading a smile.

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