The UAE-based aluminium giant Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC (EGA) and its employees held their annual autism campaign during April and May this year, to raise funds for, and awareness of, autism in the UAE. Their efforts were not in vain: Dhs300,000 was raised for two local autism treatment centres.
The campaign involved employees at the company’s two primary aluminium smelting operations – Dubai Aluminium PJSC (DUBAL) at Jebel Ali; and Emirates Aluminium PJSC (EMAL) at Al Taweelah – taking part in a range of activities, including staging a mini-art exhibition and book fair, and selling hundreds of raffle tickets.
They even voluntarily contributed through payroll deductions to show their commitment to a cause which has captured the hearts and minds of the company’s people. Apart from the employees’ contributions – which totalled almost Dhs200,000 – the company donated more than Dhs100,000 to the cause.
Increasing numbers of children are being diagnosed with autism in the UAE, leaving local treatment centres battling to meet the demand for their services. It is estimated that 1 out of every 88 children globally is afflicted by autism, a developmental disorder which affects the individual’s ability to communicate and interact with the people around them.
Khalid Buhumaid (Senior Vice President: Communications & Government Relations at EGA) said the money will go to the Dubai Autism Centre ‘DAC’, to be put towards the costs of building a new centre; and Emirates Autism Centre ‘EAC’, to help meet the costs of treating EAC’s young wards.
“At EGA, we’ve always encouraged a culture of giving back to our surrounding communities through volunteering. It’s incredibly important to give our people the opportunity to touch and change people’s lives, and because autism is a cause so close to our hearts, we invest massive amounts of time and effort into making our fundraising initiative a success,” said Buhumaid.
EGA is the jointly-owned aluminium conglomerate formed by Mubadala Development Corporation and Investment Corporation of Dubai, and combines the businesses of the UAE’s two flagship industrial companies, DUBAL and EMAL.
DUBAL has supported DAC in several ways since 2009. “Over the years, our activities have included helping to raise awareness of autism, raising funds, providing skills training and development opportunities to the center’s administration personnel, rebuilding their warehouse and implementing a stock management system – and our employees have been engaged and active every step of the way,” said Buhumaid.
EMAL employees are no less committed to the autism cause. Their activities this year included a presentation by the EAC to staff about autism and its effects on families and society and the overall campaign’s fundraising efforts.
“One of our core values at EGA embraces caring for people outside our organisation. By contributing directly to the social empowerment of autistic children, we’re able to not only bring our brand values to life, but also to make a real difference to the lives of ordinary people,” said Buhumaid.