Posted on November 08, 2018

Encouraging employees and students to take time out of their busy schedules to give back to the community is helping to change mindsets and behaviors across Qatar, while inspiring a culture of volunteerism and a nationwide social movement.

Qatar Foundation (QF) recently encouraged its staff and students to volunteer at a number of local organizations across the country, during and after working hours, as part of the ‘Mercy in Giving’ campaign, a result of the inaugural Akhlaquna Award announced by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, in 2017.

Mrs. Machaille Al-Naimi, President of Community Development, QF, who was among those to volunteer, said: "We are delighted with the response that ‘Mercy in Giving' has received. “Through this campaign, QF strives to encourage a social movement that will continue to build across the country, strengthening the very foundations of our society. Ultimately, we want the act of volunteering to become the norm, rather than the exception. And in order to achieve this, we believe it is important to start at home, at Qatar Foundation.” ‘Mercy in Giving’ aims to create a movement that unites various educational, health, and social sectors in an effort to tackle specific issues within society. In order to achieve this goal, QF organized daily trips to the campaign’s participating centers during the two-week campaign, while encouraging individuals to volunteer at other local entities of their choice.

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Aisha J. Al-Kaabi, together with a colleague at QF, visited one of the charities involved in the initiative. She has previously volunteered with various entities, and explained: “Volunteering has been a passion of mine since high school – it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the daily routine of work, so, for me, ‘Mercy in Giving’ served as a wonderful reminder as to why I used to volunteer, and reignited my desire to give back to the community.” She added, “We were worried that we would be emotional during the session. But we ended up leaving with the biggest smiles on our faces. I know for certain that, in the future, I would like to do something more within this field.”

As part of the campaign, volunteers attended workshops, learned more about the centers and their respective activities, helped staff members with their daily duties, and interacted with different groups of people – ranging from children with special needs to the elderly. First-time volunteer Fatima A. Al-Anssari said: “Before ‘Mercy in Giving’, I had never volunteered. I loved the experience. I was able to work with incredibly intelligent children and, through the visit, I met new people, worked within a different field, and, more importantly, gave back to the local community.” Discussing the opportunity she was given to volunteer, Ms. Al-Anssari said: “I like the idea of allowing staff to go during the day. But, in the future, I would like to take time out of my personal life to volunteer – I want to do more, and give more.”

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Ryan Moignard also took part in the campaign and, commenting on the importance of the initiative, said: "Volunteering is a humanitarian activity, which, I believe, should be practiced by all. It is important to help those who need it. “I have a genuine desire to continue contributing to and supporting our community care institutes. Not only do such initiatives enhance social cohesion within our society, but they are also fulfilling for the volunteers themselves.” ‘Mercy in Giving’ was conceptualized by the winner of the inaugural Akhlaquna Award, Swar Al Dahab Ali. One of three finalists selected from over 100 applications, last year’s edition of the initiative was designed to honor individuals who best embody the values of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), including generosity, tolerance, mercy, and honesty.

“The Akhlaquna Award is an umbrella initiative through which we aim to inspire the entire community and empower the next generation of leaders in Qatar by recognizing and supporting projects that work towards building a better society,” Mrs. Al-Naimi said. “With the first cycle of Akhlaquna now concluding, we are very excited to turn our focus toward launching its next edition.”

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