In Dubai, sharing is caring

After living in Dubai for a number of years, expat partner Vineet Suvarna came to the decision that the best way to celebrate his birthday party was to go to a centre for kids with special needs.

The high life

Born and raised in Mumbai, Vineet spent over eight years working in the luxury hospitality industry of Dubai. “There’s a lot of wealth in the city, so naturally I saw a lot of lavish parties in five-star hotels and high-end restaurants that cater for the super rich,” says Vineet, who has recently moved to Düsseldorf. “As you can imagine, after a while, that starts to all feel very superficial. Many other people are also working extremely long hours. I was commonly doing 12-hour shifts. It’s hard to break the cycle of work and take a moment to reflect.”

First-time volunteer

“I had never volunteered before but in Dubai I became increasingly conscious that not everyone was living the high life. I wanted to find a way to give back to those less fortunate. My wife had heard through her employer about Senses, a non-profit organisation that provides care for kids and young adults with severe physical and learning difficulties. It’s one of the biggest residential care facilities in the UAE and the Middle East.”

Join our party

“We greatly appreciate the work that Senses is doing, so two years ago, for my birthday, rather than spend money at a high-end restaurant or a club, we arranged to go celebrate with some of the kids there,” says Vineet, who duly arrived with a cake, cartons of juice, snacks and some soft drinks. “We played games, sang songs and, of course, we ate the cake! It was wonderful to see the smiles on their faces. We had so much fun that day and, one year later, we returned on my birthday again.”

Out of sight, out of mind

“In my home city of Mumbai, you would see poverty and disadvantaged communities. Perhaps that makes it easier to be aware of the need to give back. In Dubai, there’s not only an economic gulf but a real disconnect. That’s why my wife and I were so happy that we found a way to contribute to spend time with vulnerable people who are too often overlooked by society. We found that an experience like that grounds you and changes you for the better.”

Photo: Vineet sharing his birthday at the Senses centre in Dubai

Stay up to date

Sign up for our newsletter and always stay up-to-date on the latest articles.

Sign up for the newsletter