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Dubai charity launches programme to help children of blue-collar workers

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A Dubai charity has launched a programme to help the children of blue-collar workers plan their careers so they can have the opportunities their parents did not.

The Smart Life Foundation is extending its SAPNA (meaning ‘dream’) project to mentor youngsters. They said workers had come to them to ask how they could ensure their kids can have better lives.

SAPNA aims to boost the quality of education for the children of blue-collar workers by granting scholarships and funding vocational education opportunities for them.

Project lead Srinivas V Vedantam said: “The biggest worry for the workers here is ‘what will my child be?’, and their biggest fear is ‘will he end up like me?’

“Labourers have told us they don’t know how to advise their kids on what to do, where to study, how to get admission… the kids are in village schools so they have no real guidance.”

The mentorship programme sees volunteers directly get in touch with the children in their home country to identify their ambitions and areas of strength. Each mentor plots a career path and stays in contact with the ‘adopted’ child to ensure progress is made.

“How I wish I would be able to give my child the right advice to realise his dreams and aspirations,” said a female labourer who pleaded with Smart Life to speak to her son.

“Unfortunately, he does not share his ambitions with me. He is aware that I am unable to give higher educational information.”

Vedantam said the ultimate goal is to ensure “the child of a blue-collar worker must never end up a blue-collar worker – they must be white-collar professionals.”

The scheme was launched on the sidelines of Smart Idol, in which workers showcased their talents.

“Their talents went undiscovered, but we don’t want that to be the case for their children,” Vedantam said. “In a talent contest, everyone can’t win. But with education, everyone wins.”


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