Iman Al Amirah is an ambitious young education major at UAEU. She always wanted to do something for kids, and thought about starting a club that could make a difference for kids here in Al Ain. Now, Iman has turned that ambition into a reality with the Baraem Club.
The club is comprised of UAEU students, and their goal is to work with young children through reading groups and other community events, as well as educate their community on the best ways that they can help children.
We asked Iman, who serves as the club’s president, about the reasons for starting the club and how she came up with the idea. “I got so attached to kids and I saw how people misunderstand them most of the time. So I felt the need to educate people on how to deal with kids, and I strongly believe we as a society can develop by developing the way we deal with kids.”

Iman went on to explain the meaning of the club’s name, which is indicative of the club’s purpose. “Baraem is an Arabic word which means small flowers before blossoming, to symbolize children. We believe that children are so precious and significant to creating a better future. Therefore, if they were given the right care and education, they would flourish and positively contribute to the welfare of the society when they grow up, just like flowers, which blossom and give us the nice fragrance and appearance as well as vital benefits for the whole plant. Besides, they are as beautiful and delicate as flowers!”
Iman’s motivation has also inspired her friends and classmates, who joined the club and helped get it started. Iman, along with Shayma Abdullah Al Shubli, who serves as the club’s vice president, contacted the university’s activities department and shared their idea.
“At first we faced some problems, such as persuading the activities department that we are serious about this. Once we got the confirmation, we spread the word among our friends, so as a start we had around 65 members who were so excited about this, but once the real work started the number dropped down to 40.”

I asked Iman if she feels comfortable with the current team. “[They are] such a hard-working team. We have a very friendly environment, and we are hoping our members will increase soon, as we have noticed how word of mouth played a role in getting us more attention from the university and even outsources such as the municipality, who called and asked us to be in charge of the kids’ books section at the book fair in Al Ain. The university is being so supportive about this; they are helping us by letting school kids in, coordinating with outsources and in all the other help we might need. I would like to thank Ms. Mouza El Ka’abi and Dr. Ali Al Ka’abi for their support and for encouraging us on keeping this going.”

That’s quite a reaction for a club that just got started. “This is our first semester,” Iman explained. “[We started] February 2012. Our first big event was on April 22, the Children’s Literature Forum. It included reading, PowerPoint presentations displaying stories,to educate them about kids. We had 150 kids in this event. It went on for three days and each day was for a different school. And for now, we want to start sending weekly emails to all UAEU students to educate them on different topics concerning kids.”

Despite their motivation, the club still faces a few difficulties. “At first, it was hard for us to get funds, so we started with our own money, but now we’re getting all the support we need. One of the other difficulties which we have to deal with is the fact that this is voluntary work, so some people didn’t take it seriously at the beginning. That is why we had a little bit of trouble in keeping certain members with us.”

The students also have the challenge of managing their time between studies, exams, and Baraem Club meetings and events. “We complete each other’s tasks,” Iman said. “If any of us has exams, some other members would take their place. We are like a family now. We even have members who are mothers, and we all help in covering for each other and setting priorities when it comes to time management.”
So far, reaction to the club’s mission has been quite positive. “People started to appreciate kids more,” Iman said. “They realize they really need to read more for kids and spend more time with them. Even for us, as members, we have changed for the better when it comes to dealing with kids, understanding them and trying to have more activities for them.”

Shayma discussed their plans for the club after graduation. “We are planning to keep this club going even after we graduate. We want to choose the right people to take over the work, but this is not until a year from now. We’re looking forward to having the main office for this club outside of college, to expand our network and work and to take this out to the society for a bigger influence and a better outcome.”


Published in Oasis Living Magazine – July 2012

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