SAHANA, the rich meaning of REFIEF and the abbreviated name ( in Sinhala Dialect) of Sri Lankan Welfare Association in United Arab Emirates; is the unique definition for volunteering at all times. As the word implies, SAHANA volunteer service is a feeling of reassurance and relaxation for those in special need or difficulty. It is not merely a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labour for community service, it is a commitment to the community to make it a better place.
The volunteers at SAHANA, are self-motivated, compassion and of positive attitude – the most valuable skill one could bring to any volunteer effort. Despite the facts of limited mobility and time constraint, they not just do their work perfectly but also find newer, better ways to serve on an as-needed basis or according to the demand. At complex situations which requires novel solutions to manoeuvre through, SAHANA volunteers are always at the forefront.
Family Volunteering is a salient feature of SAHANA volunteer force and SAHANA promotes this concept since volunteerism found to be an important ingredient of the glue that binds the family to its community particularly in a foreign land. Needless to mention that it is a challenging task to balance the work and family, and allocate quality time for volunteering. Yet the SAHANA volunteers consider it as an opportunity to serve the community and pass on important values to their children and share the sense of accomplishment.
Volunteers at SAHANA are committed individuals of various social strata and at present involve with attending distress calls and providing solutions, dry-rations and cooked food distribution, finding shelter for homeless and facilitating repatriation, taking care children, pregnant mothers and sick adults , guiding jobless and updating their curriculum vitae and few more of similar nature.
At SAHANA when it comes to volunteering, passion and positivity are the basic requirements.
I have always been passionate about volunteering and community engagement for greater good. In the year 2020, I was given an opportunity by SAHANA to serve the distressed Sri Lankan Community in the UAE during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
SAHANA carried out several projects and I had to oversee two projects namely the FAMILY SUPPORT PROJECT and the PREGNANT MOTHERS PROJECT in Abu Dhabi & Al Ain regions. It was a very rewarding experience for me. Listening to many who expressed their sincere gratitude made me very happy, yet emotional which brought tears to my eyes, more often than not.
Currently I am a member of the SAHANA Career Guidance Team, who supports unemployed Sri Lankans in the UAE in numerous ways to secure employment.
Volunteering helps me to build relationships, meet new people and apply my skills while assisting the community. It helps me to live a “Life of Service”.
Last but not least, I would like to sincerely thank SAHANA who provides a “Ray of Hope” to needy Sri Lankan community members in UAE, for placing their trust in me and giving an opportunity to make a difference in the life of others.
Maheshika Goonetilleke, Volunteer - Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sahana is a place which helped me to reflect deeply into all the blessings I enjoy and be thankful to God for all those blessings. Also Sahana is a place I met a lot of individuals with a strong passion and commitment to help the less fortunate individuals.
I have been associated with Sahana for over an year. I have always wanted to give back to society in my own little way and Sahana truly inspires me to work in that direction to contribute to society. The pandemic has taught me a great deal especially how to deal with missing family and losing people close to us. In my role as a volunteer during these stressful times I was able to coordinate distribution of dry ration to the needy . Their smile was my reward and inspired me to work more closer with the team. Then after I was gradually moved to the Pregnant Mothers Group where we assisted ladies less fortunate to deliver healthy babies in the pandemic situation without any issues. Now I have joined the Career Guidance Group where they assist people in finding placements as per the their qualifications. I’m humble and honored to be part of this community who has tought me a lot and has brought me closer to the mankind to give back.
“A small act of kindness from you can make a huge difference to someone else”
Shabeena Packeerally, Volunteer - Career Gudance team
It has been almost five years since I have been volunteering for Sahana Welfare Organization. From among the projects I have served in, the “Family support programme” takes a special place in my heart. I must say it brought me an immeasurable amount of personal satisfaction to organize and co-ordinate this program along with Rangika Mathew, Chandima Kosgahakumbura and Chamathka Jayasinghe. During the worst of the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020, we supported 231 families with children by supplying them with dry rations, milk powder, baby products and medicines. Not just once, but multiple times as per their family situations. Moreover, we brought together families in our community to uplift and nurture other families in need. We collectively eased their burdens and made their troubles more bearable. To top it off, I have made some life-long friends at Sahana Org. I wish Sahana Org all the very best as it continues to spread a light of hope on needy Sri Lankan community members in the UAE.
Tilini Ratnajeewa, Volunteer - Special projects (Family Support)