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The announcement came during a press briefing which was held at Emirates Foundation's head office in Abu Dhabi and attended by representatives of the Takatof programme donors: Yasser Geissah, CEO of Manazel, Ahmed Al Hosani, the General Manager of Fuala, Shamma Al Habsi, Region Manager of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain at Emirates Islamic Bank, and Ms. Awatef Al Harmoudy, Head of Branches and Business Support at Emirates Islamic Bank.
Emirates Foundation's CEO Clare Woodcraft said, "This year's campaign has been split into four stages, each with a set of procedures and charitable activities designed to assist disadvantaged families in all seven emirates."
The campaign differs from previous years in that it focuses on the social dimension, fostering the role of volunteers and promoting the culture of volunteering, core to Takatof's mission.
"The volunteers will open dialogue with families and beneficiaries to emphasise significant issues, most important of which is improving family living conditions by highlighting the concept of saving," Woodcraft told sponsors and donors during a press briefing at the Emirates Foundation head office.
"Volunteers will encourage families to avoid lavish spending and look at ways to develop family resources," she added.
This year's action plan (based on previous Takatof surveys identifying the basic needs of poorer families) goes beyond offering in kind assistance. Instead volunteers will share families' problems and discuss with them the most effective solutions to establishing a stronger family capable of building itself, Woodcraft said.
The campaign has been divided into four stages covering all the days of the holy month. Throughout the first ten days, phase one entitled "Renovating Homes of Poor Families", volunteers will assist by painting and maintaining homes while creating an interactive relationship between the families and volunteers. All volunteers have been well-trained and are qualified to handle various issues put forward by family members that may require financial or social assistance, Woodcraft noted.
During this period in kind assistance such as food coupons, blankets and clothes will be distributed to meet the families' needs during Ramadan, Eid Al Fiter and the coming school year, Woodcraft said.
The second stage, which covers the second ten days of the holy month, is entitled "Maintenance of Mosques". Takatof volunteers will conduct maintenance work on targeted mosques. Work will be done in coordination with concerned government departments mainly, the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments. The work will include furnishing the mosques and providing copies of the Holy Qura'n, Woodcraft told reporters.
During the third and fourth stage, the last ten days of Ramadan, volunteers will dedicate their time and efforts solely to social and humanitarian activities visiting patients in hospitals, elderly people, orphanages and centres for people with special needs.
Throughout this stage volunteers will be distributing gifts to the people, sitting with them and exchanging friendly talks in an attempt to break their loneliness and ease their suffering, Woodcraft said.
"This campaign and its titles reflect the concept of genuine social and humanitarian work and follows exactly the Takatof volunteer programme's objectives, that is creating an interactive social network amongst all community segments with the aim of easing challenges facing those in need," she added.
Takatof opened the door for volunteering in this campaign through its website (www.takatof.ae), giving enough time for its administration staff to train the volunteers on how to deal with the target groups, Woodcraft said.
She urged the business community to extend support to the Takatof Ramadan campaign and connect with the religious atmosphere of the holy month by providing aid to those people truly in need.
The media could also make a valuable contribution, Woodcraft noted, by highlighting the activities of volunteers engaged in this campaign throughout the holy month of Ramadan.
The "Takatof Ramadan" project was first launched in 2007 with two main objectives: enhancing the principle of social responsibility through volunteering; and providing true opportunities for volunteers to help chaste and needy Emirati families.
The project is focused on meeting the health and living requirements of needy families with all assistance carried out by volunteers who do their best to assist the poor.