GE Volunteers help stranded workers return home with ‘Take Me Home’ campaign
Dubai, UAE; September 9, 2020: GE Volunteers have launched the #GEVTake Me Home campaign to support the repatriation of workers stranded in the UAE following the COVID-19 pandemic. News reports have highlighted the plight of thousands of blue-collar workers in the region, many of them without work, housing, or a way to return to their home countries due to the pandemic.
To support the repatriation of those who wish to return home, GE Volunteers launched the campaign to help the workers reunite with their families in their home countries. To date, the initiative has helped almost 80 men and women to return home. The initiative has supported workers from over 20 cities across Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India. Some had been in the UAE for just a few months, while others had lived here for more than 40 years, when the pandemic struck and left them without options.
“We could have supported individuals by providing food or helped with other necessities while they remained here. But that would mean they remain dependent and cannot start to rebuild their lives,” said Swati Mehta, leader of GE Volunteers UAE, and an active member of the team involved in the campaign. “We wanted to help them make a better future and restart their lives back home,” she added.
Other members of the GE Volunteers leadership team include Tarek Al-Jabi, Staney Pullolickel, Mohaned Eltayeb, and Melanie Ada. Volunteers play various roles, including sponsoring the cost of individual worker repatriation flight tickets, or speaking to candidates on the phone or in person to confirm their need and help coordinate their flight home.
To identify people in need who could benefit from this initiative, GE partners with several non-governmental organizations and volunteer groups with which it has previously collaborated, including SmartLife, UAE Relief Initiative, and Sahem Volunteers. These organizations identify potential recipients and do a first-level background check. GE Volunteers then conduct follow-up, meeting the people, and making sure they have all necessary documents for repatriation. Once a candidate has been approved, GE Volunteers connects them with a sponsor who then pays the required airfare directly to the travel agency or airline.
With many workers still requiring help to return home, anyone interested in supporting the campaign can reach out to GE Volunteers by email at GEV.UAE@ge.com or by DM to @gevuae on Instagram.
The “Take Me Home” campaign is the most recent community-focused initiative led by GE Volunteers in the UAE. During Ramadan this year, the volunteer group donated thousands of meals via several online apps, including in support of the Emirates Red Crescent’s “COVID-19 Relief Campaign.” Other volunteers taught students new skills through virtual lessons, including the Dubai Chamber’s “Give and Gain” corporate volunteering event.
GE Volunteers facilitate and support volunteering activities that improve life and meet critical needs in the communities where GE people live and work around the world. These activities are carried out through a wide range of projects in the areas of health, education, the environment, and community-building.