Children’s Day to put a smile on face in Dubai
Yonca TOKBAŞ DUBAI
Charity celebrations marks April 23 Children’s Day in Dubai over the last four years with the participation of many international schools and performers.I have been living in Dubai for 14 years. Seven years ago, I founded a yahoo mail group called “Sultans of Dubai” for Turkish expat women to share their experiences in Dubai so that they didn’t feel alone.
Sultans of Dubai have now more than 1,000 members exchanging experiences and anything else you can imagine. When you live in a country as an expat for so long as us, you start feeling like you need to give something back to the place that you increasingly feel you belong to.
With this in mind, a small group from Sultans of Dubai volunteered to come together for a good cause, dedicating themselves to making a great day of celebration with children from different countries to support the children of the Dubai Autism Center.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, dedicated April 23 to the children of the world, to emphasize that they were the future of a nation. Since 1920, Turkey has celebrated April 23 as National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.
In 1979 when UNICEF recognized this day as a special day for children, World Children’s Day began to be celebrated internationally. The celebration of Children’s Day in Turkey brings together children from many countries around the world,
encouraging interaction with each other’s cultures, enhancing friendship and mutual understanding.
Children’s Day provides a unique opportunity to contribute to international peace and solidarity. In Dubai over the last four years, under the patronage of the Consulate General of the Turkish Republic in Dubai, the Sultans of Dubai Volunteer Committee and the Turkish Business Council Dubai, we have organized four successful charity celebrations to mark April 23 Children’s Day with
the participation of many international schools and performance groups of different countries in Dubai. We reached an audience of nearly 4,000 people and the participation of more than 50 different children performance groups, including more than 800 children.
This year, I am honored and proud to announce our fifth celebration happening today. The success of this event lies with the dedicated volunteer work of all organization partners as well as the generous donations of the sponsors. Net proceeds of five years exceed 600,000 AED (nearly $165,000). In order to support Dubai Autism Center’s annual autism awareness campaign which is organized for the whole month of April, it has been decided to donate the proceeds of the event to the Dubai Autism Center (DAC).
Today, Dubai Children’s Day celebrations will once again feature spectacular musical and artistic folklore performances by children from various Dubai-based international schools and institutes including children from Fiji to Spain and from South Korea to the United Arab Emirates.
We also have the Talented Turkish Children Pianists and a very special guest group from Turkey, as the Iğdır Turkish Children Folkdance Dance Group is coming all the way from eastern Turkey. In total, more than 200 children will be on stage at the American University in the Dubai Auditorium.
Seeing the diversity of nationalities watching the celebrations, I strongly believe that children are both a cultural envoy and a representative of friendship, understanding and the ambassadors of peace that the world needs more than ever nowadays.
I would like to recognize the support and donations of Turkish Airlines, PINAR, MNG, Rawaj International, Alokozay, American University of Dubai, Chello Music and Ballet Center, Sharmila Dance, Asian Escapes, Amwaj Rotana, Jbr Ritz Carlton, Sandalyeci, Health Bay Clinic, Sarılar Group, PR Fit Communications&Consultancy and, Istanbul Flower. Thanks to all our supporters and generous donators, we have been able to help the Dubai Autism Center for the past five years.
Being an expat seems to be a “life in constant transit.” To celebrate the Children’s Day Celebration in Dubai for the fifth year and being able to donate once again nearly 100,000 AED to the Dubai Autism Center makes us feel like we are change-makers who see constant hope in the future in a sustainable way. Yes, that’s exactly what I feel.
We might not belong to a place and we might be expats, but we can do something for the children who belong there and who need help. All these children from all around the world as one, on one stage, makes me believe more and more in Atatürk’s saying, “Peace at home, peace in the world.”
There is always hope, if you believe and work for it, wherever you are, whoever you are and from wherever you are.