Now in the final month before the Festival we have volunteer applications coming in every day. It is true that we would not be able to run this Festival without volunteers and we are deeply grateful to everyone who lends us a hand. But we are also very keen that our volunteers benefit too.

Hearing from our past volunteers is always a pleasure, and never more so than when we hear stories like this one from Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Communications Manager for Dubai Cares.   

In my first year in the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), 10 years ago, I was encouraged by my teacher to volunteer and help support major events hosted in Dubai such as the Emirates Literature Festival (ELF) and the Dubai International Film Festival and the Emirates Literature Festival (DIFF). I was majoring in Applied Communications and according to her this experience was going to be invaluable in terms of expanding my knowledge in event management and customer service.

Driven by my passion for books, I chose to have my first volunteering experience at the first edition of the Emirates Literature Festival, which took place in 2008. As a volunteer, I was assigned a number of tasks including participants’ registration and ushering. Guiding visitors to their various workshops and sessions made me feel very useful and happy, especially since everyone was so grateful for my help. Beyond volunteering, I also had the opportunity to go inside an artificial igloo and listen to a poet who was beautifully reciting her poetry about self-love and spirituality. It was magical.

After volunteering for three days at the Emirates Literature Festival, I was very excited to share my experience with my peers at the College. One of the memories that I will never forget and shared with everyone was how I was able to help a little lost girl reunite with her parents. No words can describe the sense of pride that I felt afterwards. This little incident inspired me to continue to lend a helping hand to others and dedicate more time to volunteering as it is the best way to give back to the community. In fact, this is what I currently do for a living.

Today, I am a Communications Manager at Dubai Cares; an organization that provides children and young people in developing countries with access to quality education. I was very proud to join this global organization and handle some of its campaigns, including our current partnership with the Emirates Literature Festival.

By Khalifa Al Suwaidi

Volunteer to DubaiLitFest here!