My 2021 winter vacations were much anticipated, as I would spend 10 days volunteering at the Dubai Cares Pavilion at Expo 2020.
An application followed by a short interview landed me this incredible opportunity. I chose to volunteer with Dubai Cares as their vision and mission truly strikes a chord with me. As a philanthropic organization, they aim to provide quality education to less privileged children around the globe.
A large model of its logo- 5 colorful hands for the 5 continents it operates in- greets visitors at the entrance. With a theme of “The Future is Human”, the pavilion is designed to show what Dubai Cares does as an organization, and how education would be different in the near future.
A short briefing, and we got busy with our roles. In my stint in the “Future of Education” zone, I welcomed and allocated people to the immersive VR experiences of space, human anatomy or art. They experienced how VR would become a part of learning in the near future, with exclamations of delight and wonder.
In the “Skills of the Future” zone, I assisted visitors in taking a short quiz to gauge their readiness with human skills to face a future with a changing job landscape.
In the “Audio-Visual” zone, I talked our visitors through how Dubai Cares functions as a philanthropic organization, its past and present achievements, and its focus on access and quality of education. They also listened to testimonials from children who had benefited from the organization.
The “Right Start” zone challenged the traditional ways of learning in a fun way. Visitors start off with the Roaring Range(where they could scream and see how loud they could get), and then move to a quick race at the Stomping Grounds.
I quickly grasped the details of each zone, and was soon rotating between different zones to relieve the staff there, so they could take their own breaks. In our 1 hour breaks, we volunteers got to explore other pavilions and sample international cuisines.
The staff and I quickly built up a rapport, and I found them to be some of the warmest, most welcoming people I had ever met. They were a huge part of the wonderful atmosphere in the pavilion, and I recall my time with them fondly. It was an environment that helped me grow as a person, and I cherish their mention that we were good volunteers.
With 80 hours of volunteering, staying on my feet almost all the time, I realized I had more resilience, personability and quick decision making skills than I knew. With fond memories and broad range of new skills, I wrapped up this experience of being part of the magic of EXPO 2020. Moreover, knowing that I had the privilege of giving back to the magnanimous UAE, my home of 20+ years and a community that has given me so much more than I could put into words, gladdens my heart. I truly miss my time there and would definitely volunteer again if I had the chance to.
I genuinely enjoyed this pavilion, both as a visitor, and as a volunteer. If this is a pavilion you are yet to visit, I would definitely recommend you to go and experience an “Awakening to a Future that is Human”!