Times of Oman
Jun 25, 2017 Last Updated at 18:34 AST
OmanPride: Providing a platform for young volunteers
June 12, 2017 | 6:56 PM
by Shruthi Nair
Eman Rafay, founder of OmanVolunteers says, we believe everyone should have the chance to make a difference.
 
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The ability we have to empower people to do well, not only for their community, but also for themselves is our inspiration,” said Eman Rafay, founder of OmanVolunteers.

OmanVolunteers is a digital platform that aims to integrate volunteers with volunteering opportunities through their website. “OmanVolunteers allows people to have a platform to volunteer in areas that connect with their passions, skills and interests and for a cause that they care for.”

Rafay, who belongs to a family of doctors that have always prioritised giving back to the community, had two objectives behind initiating the online organisation. “The idea came to me in two folds for OmanVolunteers; firstly, when I realised how underutilised the Internet was in our community for social good, even though everyone was connected 24/7.

“Secondly, when I saw the considerable amounts of free time young people had while waiting for employment.”

The organisation, which was founded a couple of years ago has already managed to gain ground and attract volunteers and NGOs alike. “We have over a 100 volunteers registered, eager to start volunteering. Meanwhile, we are running an outreach initiative with the Corporate Social Responsibility departments of private sector organisations and not-for-profit organisations and initiatives, where we aim to have them sign up to use the website to source volunteers.”

The user friendly website helps you choose from an array of causes that one would like to support and helps the potential volunteers register so that they can be selected by organisations to start working. The website is founded and run by volunteers, who have no intentions of making profits or churning money out of it.

“We believe everyone should have the chance to make a difference. OmanVolunteers makes it easy for people to give back and for good causes to connect with good skills.”

“We do this by bringing good causes and good people together to positively impact our community. The initiative is powered by ‘The Global Shapers Community,’ Muscat hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum.”

Rafay herself is an ardent believer of social service. “My commitment to social service is engrained within our culture, our history and our way of life. Coming from a family with medical doctors spanning over five generations and following my grandfathers (both maternal and paternal), who were one of the first few doctors in Oman in the 1940s, it is my moral obligation to serve my country in any way I can.”

The main causes that are close to Rafay’s heart are education, employment, and innovation.

“I am an advocate for education, employment, and social innovation for capacity building. I am currently working in the area of development with key PPP (public private partnership) initiatives to strengthen national competitiveness as a civil servant in the government”.

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