Charity events in March

The Sok Sabay Fundraiser and Starwood Hotels Fundraiser are coming soon Discuss this article

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So it’s the month of March and, really, there ain’t nothing special about that at all (unless it’s your birthday) but (and there is always a ‘but’) you can make it special. How so? Well it all starts with you grabbing a pen and putting these two dates in your diary: March 8 and March 24. The second thing you need to do is commit to attending two fundraisers in aid of some of the world’s most unfortunate children.

The Sok Sabay Fundraiser
Cambodia is often referred to as the country of smiles. Catch a stranger’s eye in this small, poverty stricken country, and the first response you’ll get is a friendly beam. And as is the way of the world, it’s the children who smile the brightest but suffer the most from the ills that beset society. It’s an ugly truth that child abuse, exploitation and slavery is rife in Cambodia, and it’s an issue too sensitive for many to want to confront or address. So if an opportunity where we might have the chance to make an impact on the lives of some of these children happens to present itself, it goes without saying that we really must take that opportunity.

Abu Dhabi City Golf Club is hosting a 9-hole Texas Scramble in aid of rescued children in Cambodia. The charity, Sok Sabay (which means ‘happiness’ in Khemer) has been in operation for over 15 years now, and is run by a very special French lady named Marie Cammal. It is a shelter, a home and a rehabilitation centre for children who have been saved from abandonment, abuse and exploitation.

Sok Sabay currently houses 52 children and 8 teenagers in a dorm at a university. It provides for their clothing and their meals and snacks, as well as their education. In an effort to secure a brighter future for them, Sok Sabay ensures that every child attends school and also takes part in one extracurricular activity.

All proceeds from the fundraiser at the City Golf Club will go towards maintaining this lifestyle for the children. It will pay for accommodation, food, clothing and education, so every penny counts. And don’t be put off if you’re not a golf pro, because all are welcome and it’s bound to be a fun event with a BBQ dinner waiting for the golfers when they come back from the green.

Member price Dhs125; non-member price Dhs250. For more info email Kimberlee at March 8 from 6pm (dinner at 8.30pm) at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club (02 445 9600).

The Starwood Hotels Fundraiser
Globally, one in 600 children are born each year with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate. The condition not only makes it difficult for sufferers to eat and speak, but socialising in itself becomes a challenge. Born to disadvantaged families without the means to afford the surgery, most of these children are shunned and rejected by their community. In the worst cases, a cleft lip is nothing less than a death sentence.

Operation Smile works across 70 countries worldwide, providing free reconstructive surgery for children born with cleft lip and other facial deformities. Over nearly three decades, they’ve provided more than two million patient evaluations and 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults. As of 2011 the NGO established an office in Abu Dhabi and has been involving the denizens of our town in their campaigns. And now, eight of the capital’s five star hotels have come on board to raise funds and awareness for the work of Operation Smile.

The Starwood Hotel’s Family Fun Day will be hosted at Le Méridien on March 24. For all you keen shoppers, there’s no doubt you’ll find a bargain or two at the one-day bazaar. For the little ones there’ll be everything from bouncy castles and face painting to game stations. And, of course, no family day out is complete without food and beverage stations. But it doesn’t end there. Hang onto your entry passes folks, because it doubles as a raffle ticket which will give you the chance to win meal vouchers and weekend stays at all participating hotels. And most importantly, it’s all for a very worthy cause.

Contributing hotels include Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, Sheraton Khalidiya, Aloft, Westin Abu Dhabi, St Regis Abu Dhabi and St Regis Saadiyat. For exhibitors who wish to book stalls, fees are Dhs300 for a single table and Dhs500 for double. For more info contact Martina Venus at or Tourya Morchid at The Starwood Hotels Family Fun Day will be on March 24 from 1pm-7pm at Le Méridien Abu Dhabi (02 644 6666).

By Elest Ali
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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