Volunteering is one facet of philanthropy that the UAE government encourages. It also allows individuals to build skills, learn a language, experience a new culture and travel the world on a budget. There are a number of certified social initiatives and charities operating in the Emirates in addition to international organizations. Volunteers are encouraged to be a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility operating in the region. To show their seriousness about volunteer work, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai have established the Dubai Appreciation Award for community service. The award honors people from private and civil society who provide service in areas of education, health and social welfare.
Among the projects volunteers can become involved in includes a feeding project established towards the end of 2008. The project workers cook and supply food to labourers in Karama area of UAE. The operation proved to be highly successful and has expanded significantly. Individuals and companies donate food materials while volunteers cook and distribute the food to low income needy individuals. The project is highly dependent upon volunteers for office work, logistics, and delivery.
Another worthwhile project volunteers can take part in involves providing an entertaining Sunday morning to children suffering from unfortunate predicaments. All children are welcome to join the festivities on scheduled Sundays, including those enrolled in special needs centres, or afflicted with long or short term illnesses. The benefit of the project is that children get to make friends with other children in the same predicament, re-enforcing the concept that they are not alone in their circumstances. The weekly events are scheduled for every Sunday up to one year in advance. Volunteers help to plan activities and carry them out.
Animal projects in the UAE welcome trained and untrained volunteers to help take care to little furry friends. Volunteers help by cleaning enclosures, walking dogs, giving baths, bottle feeding kittens, and with administration of adoption work.