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Dubai pupils aim to foster spirit of volunteering with TEDx talk

DUBAI // A group of students passionate about making a positive change have organised an official TEDx talk to inspire others to play active and positive roles in the community.

The Year 11 pupils from Cambridge International School in Dubai have been working for more than a year to obtain permission for a TEDx event – an offshoot of the global conferences that bring together people to share ideas.

Zaina Awan, 15, a Pakistani pupil at the school, said the idea for the talk was part of the school’s wider “Blank Project” community initiative.

“We set that up about two years ago following the terror attacks at a school in Peshawar, as a way of trying to make positive change in our community,” Zaina said.

“The attack had a big impact on us and we realised that if you’re not actually taking action when these terrible things happen, then you’re just a bystander.

“Since then we have been organising various voluntary projects and other awareness campaigns that aim to encourage young people to be a force for positive change.”

The talk will bring together 10 speakers who will share their experiences and knowledge.

Sierra Morrone, 17, from the US, is excited about the day-long event.

“We have some very interesting speakers, including one person who has a disability but has overcome these challenges to lead a positive life,” Sierra said.

“She has an amazing perspective on life and what other people might see as being a disadvantage has not stopped her from contributing.”

Aryan Dhar, 15, said the aim was to give a voice to people with a diverse range of life experiences.

“The TEDx event is just one of several things the Blank Project has been doing in recent years but they all share the same goal of getting people to work for a better society,” said Aryan, from India.

“The speakers will talk about everything from gender equality to overcoming challenges. What we ideally want is to foster a community spirit of volunteering to help others because people should not be excluded from being an active part of society.”

Reema Mughis, head of English at the school, has worked closely with pupils on the Blank Project.

“We had vast turnouts by the student body to volunteer and bring the event to culmination, as well as speakers,” Ms Mughis said.

Tickets for the event at the school, on November 8, will cost Dh30 to pay for running costs.

For more information visit ted.com/tedx/events/18470.

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(via The National)

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