Valuable Thoughts from Your Good Human – Omar Abu Omar

We’ve asked Omar Abu Omar, a well-liked, everyday kind of guy, human in our Dubai community to talk briefly about his life as part of the “Your Good Human” stories.

Here he shares the steps he took that led him to combine his hobby with philanthropy. 

Where do I start.. Hmm. Well, hi! I am Omar Abu Omar (yes, I have an identical first and last name). I am a Palestinian in my late twenties and been born, raised and educated in Dubai. I lead a normal life with little that I think stands out, but I have this obsession with running which I’ve had for several years now. I’ve always been running; running to drive away bad thoughts, tension, negativity and the blues of the day. And I started when I was a teenager, running for fun where I’d jog for a couple of hundred meters, walk for a few minutes and then resume running. It was only till a couple of years ago when I was encouraged by a friend to sign up to a big 10k long race in Dubai, at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. The adrenalin rush and the post-race sensation, the ecstatic feeling of having completed a challenge I never saw myself taking part in, were all factors that made me even more interested in running and in pushing myself further. A few months later I decided to challenge myself again but with a half-marathon. My objective was simply to finish it without stopping and surprisingly, I did and actually had enough endurance to complete it comfortably. A bunch of other races came up after that with distances that varied from 5k to half a marathon, but less than a year after completing my first half-marathon, I had enough loose wires in my head to take on a full one. All 42.2 kilometres of it. I started training for one in Jordan, the Dead Sea marathon, not knowing what to expect or how I would finish it and what was ahead. Needless to say, I managed to complete it and although it was an agonising and painful experience, all of those feelings vanish soon after you cross the finish line and the lasting memory that remains is the overwhelming feeling of “OMG! I JUST FINISHED A FULL FRIGGING MARATHON!”

Omar-Abu-Omar

Since then, I’ve taken part in several other short distance races and a couple of full marathons in Istanbul and Madrid. For the latter, I decided to do some charity work and fundraise for a good cause. My charity of choice was Save the Children’s operations in war-torn Syria where my target was $2,000 initially, increasing it to $3,000 as I was able to raise more funds at the time and eventually reaching a final donation amount of $3,300. It felt great to be able to do something I deeply enjoyed doing while engaging in charitable efforts to help others.

Currently, I am training for my 4th full marathon, which will be in my hometown Dubai and I am raising funds for MAP, Medical Assistance for Palestinians. My donation target is AED 10,000 and so far have been able to raise around AED 3,000. This charity’s efforts are exceptional in bringing crucial and essential aid to the struggling people of Palestine with a focus on the besieged Gaza district. I trust that my efforts and the donations of friends will make a difference to many lives there.

To find out more and to donate please visit: www.justgiving.com/OmarAO

 

 

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Good Service: KHDA

When you think of governmental services, a daunting feeling sets over you. Generally the issues that concern these services are painfully annoying and require a lot of effort and time that we simply are reluctant to give. However, we’ve seen a huge change here in the UAE whether in authorities, ministries or even police stations and these changes were definitely towards the better. Some of them have improved on their infrastructure by rebuilding bigger and cleaner spaces, some on their service by introducing technology that’s helped make them more efficient, and some have taken it to the next level by investing in their people.

We tend to forget that every where we go and everything we do, there’s always a person standing behind serving us, communicating with us and making things happen. When companies or leaders set out to bring a service that will help improve people’s lives in whatever way, they must not forget about the people who are doing the actual work for them. Those are the people who will guarantee the customer or the positive word of mouth. That’s why it’s very crucial to invest more and more in their people by training them, by providing them a positive work environment, perhaps better compensation structures, and overall, a sense of purpose. We all go to work at least 40 hours a week and although there’s not much we can do to change this fact, we can ensure that we and the people working for us enjoy working these 40 hours.

Which brings me to the service I’ve encountered recently. It’s called the Knowledge and Human Development Authority and it’s in Academic City in Dubai. I had to get my certificate attested on short notice and wasn’t very sure where to go. UAE folks would know there’s a different authority for different school curriculums and schooling levels and so on, and each one is in a different part of the city if not the country. Once I got a hold of the number and phoned them, first of all, someone actually picked up and so I considered this to be a great thing to start with. The customer service agent was very helpful and promised me he would help as soon as I arrived and after travelling for 30-minutes all the way to Academic City, there it was, the glamorous KHDA building. It was midday and by that point I’ve been in my car for about 2 hours. As soon as I entered, I was amazed as the place seemed unrecognisable. There was no help desk in the centre or counters on each side with their respective agents. Instead there were couches and coffee tables and what seemed like an event happening because of the refreshment cart on the side. I was immediately approached by a man in a suit who asked me how he could help and told me to sit on one of the couches  and wait. A minute or two later, I was approached by a man in the local dress and asked for my certificate. A minute later a woman handed me the certificate, attested and meanwhile, I sat there, with free wifi, a free bottle of water and a free cup of tea.

I left after 7 minutes from the time I reached and a feeling of genuine happiness overcame me. This was the best service I’ve had anywhere purely for the positive vibes that filled that environment and in their helpful staff and the very quick and hassle free service. This is a great start for governmental institutions and I hope this can lead and inspire others with the same improvements.

Why not change our customary approach on how we conduct those tedious services and think of new ways in servicing people that will do more good on our businesses and ourselves in the long run?

Good wishes!