July 16 2015
First of its Kind Children’s Village Opens its Doors in Dubai Providing Home for up to 100 Children
Collaboration between SOS Children’s Villages and the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF) helped to build a new home for abandoned and vulnerable children. The first of its kind children's village opened its doors in Dubai in July 2015 and was inaugurated by HH Sheikh Rashid al Maktoum. Common effort of the UAE government, local businesses and residents of Dubai made it possible to raise 150 million dirhams of funds to build a new home for children who need it the most.
Collaboration between SOS Children’s Villages and the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF) helped to build a new home for abandoned and vulnerable children. In July 2015, the first of its kind children's village opened the doors in Dubai with a blessing from by HH Sheikh Rashid al Maktoum.
The village compound includes 12 villas, a small medical clinic, and a nursery for pre-school children with capacity to accommodate up to a hundred children and a small library.
Wedad al Mahmoud, the manager of the Family Village says: «We won't have any private facilities in the village beyond the bare necessities. Instead, we aim to integrate children in the larger community and make sure that they are living a normal life, just like regular families in Dubai.»
The project aims to provide a safe and caring environment to abandoned children and children in crisis. The model of a village follows a structure of a real family, where kids have parents, siblings, and relatives.
To achieve this, the SOS Children's Village has three classes of employees: administrators, socia workers and caregivers. The caregivers work as a mother, a father, or an aunt to the children. Ms Al Hamoud, who is a «grandmother» of the village, describes it: «Those who are responsible of taking care of the children directly, work in shifts between the mother and the aunts,” she said. “They become their substitute family by giving all the care that a child needs in terms of education, health, making sure they eat well and, most importantly, giving them love.»
Dubai women's association together with local experts provided training to the caregivers equipping them with necessary emotional and practical skills to support their new families. SOS Children’s Villages International conducted a two-months training on how to conduct the operations helping the “mother” and “aunts” to learn the quality standards of the organization. «Whatever a child in a normal environment needs, the mother, aunt and father in this case must provide and fill the void,» explained Ms Al Hamoud. She also encouraged the Dubai community to volunteer time for SOS Children's Village helping to arrange additional educational, social, and creative activities.