Restart The Art: Meeting Keshab

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Today I met my artistic partner, Keshab, a 34 year old Nepalese man, working as a security guard in Dubai. He’s been in this lively city for 9 years leaving behind his beautiful wife Goma and 4-months old daughter, Kritika. I ask him what ‘Kritika’ means and with the help of the translator, I understand it’s a word to describe a higher characteristic, a good, well starred person “just like Mother Teresa” he says. He tells me his marriage was out of love and that later they arranged to get married. Keshab is obviously a sensitive man and very likeable. He simply loves to be happy and seems to be a very easy going person who is respectful to others, believes in aspiring to achieve more and better, and really cares about the world especially when it comes down to the well-being of children and animals and our environment. He shares his answers with me and I find that we have more in common then I initially expected.

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1. What is your dream in life?

. When a person is born, we all have one dream that the rich or poor are treated with respect.

. Children should progress in education.

. Child trafficking should be stopped.

. Those who want to destroy the world by making weapons, these dangerous activities should be stopped. It should be everyone’s responsibility to keep our environment clean.

2. What is your greatest pain?

. If my dream is not fulfilled, that is my only pain.

. Animals should be protected. All countries should come forward to plan something to protect them. Trees and small plants should not be cut. Greenery is very necessary for humans and animals too. If this does not happen then that gives me pain too. Whatever I have written should be fulfilled; this is my dream.

3. What is your greatest joy?

. I love sports like football and cricket.

. I want my family to be with me, and keeping them happy always is my priority.

. I love traveling to different towns.

. Reading stories and writing poetry is my hobby.

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I didn’t get a chance to share my answers with Keshab, but I did tell him that all of these issues, dreams, pains and joys are very similar to mine. He then shared his drawings with me and I thought it was very interesting what he chose to draw. Instead of painting one main A3 art work like his fellow artists, he painted mini drawings of animals, everyday things he owns and best of all, a greatly-detailed Buddha statue, and Mount Everest! When I asked him about the tools and medium he used, he said that at first the team did not provide him with a brush, so he used a tissue paper with water colour in one of his main drawings and I thought that funny but also very resourceful of him.

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Now the next step is the biggest. It’s where I come in and complete what Keshab had already started and try to bring both of our stories into a beautiful resulting work. It shouldn’t be very difficult seeing that we both share a lot in common and the fact he’s actually a good artist.

I really wish Keshab the best in life and what I can take from this meeting today is that although it wasn’t surprising to find out how us humans we are basically the same, but that it was refreshing to have a conversation with a person who is completely out of your social circle and the kind of conversation that delves into dreams and hopes, hobbies and interests and a lot of art!

Wish us luck!

Restart The Art: Dubai

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There’s an artistic initiative happening in Dubai called Restart The Art. It’s led by the guys from The Sameness Project, a group of social innovators based in Dubai who are basically spreading goodness and most importantly changing a lot about what we once knew about this city we live in. Some of the projects they’ve carried out include giving away water to workers, connecting neighbours with each other, and facilitating conversations between strangers.

With Restart The Art, the group are again targeting labourers in Dubai and teaming them up with accomplished and aspiring artists for the aim of transforming the plain stained white labour buses into moving canvases of artistic expression.

So far the team has already picked their participating labour men and asked them 3 questions to which they had to answer with art. Next stop is our turn, the ‘artistic directors’ who will also be answering these 3 questions with our own art.

The questions are:

1. What is your dream in life?

2. What is your greatest pain?

3. What is your greatest joy?

Seemingly straight forward questions yet require a lot of thought and imagination.

I’m personally very excited to be part of this initiative; I can’t wait to meet my partner and find out his story, and I can’t wait to see what he’s created! I love art and more so, I love the expression of good behaviour and I really applaud the guys at The Sameness Project for not only their hard efforts, but their truly creative campaigns and projects that make these initiatives really fun.

I’ll be sharing updates from the project as we go along and hopefully get you all as excited as I am! Stay tuned!!

 

Good wishes,

Malda

The Good Human Project

Valuable Thoughts from your Good Human – SUPERHOPE

Superheroes are made not born. Find out what the guys at Superhope are doing to create little Superheroes with a heart-warming story.

Here, Basma and Tarik share their valuable thoughts on a super campaign.

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1. What is Superhope? 

To begin with, our mission was and is to boost a child’s positive mental attitude (PMA) through positive experiences, which we design for children with a real life battle such as cancer. When one’s PMA is boosted, one’s immune system is strengthened so does their will to fight the battle.

With that in mind, Superhope was born out of wanting to use creativity for doing good. We, Basma Masri and Tarik Batal, agreed on an untraditional approach to engaging the child in their own healing campaign through artistic and entrepreneurial means.

We come from backgrounds having worn many hats. One of which is film and photo production, which has made many elements of the projects much easier.

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2. Describe the process:

The child creates his own Superhero character alongside a Comic Illustrator who sketches out the child’s imagination, from superpower, to super costume. We then surprise the child by producing their imagined costume with the help of talented costume designers and finally realise the entire experience by carrying out a professional photo shoot of the child in their Superhero persona. The process takes place on 4 separate days which helps build up the excitement in the child’s life. The children get to keep their costumes as a constant reminder of who they really are – Superheroes with superpowers!

3. How was the experience like?

It was beyond what words could describe. It was our first time to work directly with children with cancer, and every meeting was educational, every encounter was inspirational. Listening to the children’s imaginations and seeing their lovely spirit was a positively changing moment to our outlook on life. We witnessed the children become so empowered, so happy and so full of positive vibes throughout this campaign. They had the chance to escape and forget about their struggle and celebrate the moment especially at the Comic Con.

It was truly rewarding having the parents come up to us, in tears, expressing their gratitude and happiness. Parents are the support systems and we encourage families to be part of their child’s imagination and inspire them to be whom they wish to be.

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4. But Superhope is also about promoting a healthy state of mind, tell us more.

We are in discussions with doctors and psychologists on the key factors that help in boosting a child’s healthy state of mind, whether battling a disease or not. We have and are currently doing more and more research on this subject to better serve our upcoming campaigns as we continuously educate the children and their families on the little steps that everyone can take to provide love and stability in one’s mind, body and soul. We regularly post our research through our blog; follow us for updates!

5. What are your challenges and setbacks?

Our biggest challenge in this project was finding the most suitable time to meet with the children as they were still in treatment. Nonetheless we did it!

6. How can the community help?

We deal with many collaborations, so we are always searching for people to help us achieve the campaign’s objectives. Interested professionals in the fields of comic illustration, costume design, creative photography and filmmaking should send us an email with their skill set and portfolio and we will get in touch with them.

Also word of mouth helps a lot, so please be kind and spread our Superhope message.

We’d like to add that our past collaborators were more like partners who worked whole-heartedly and passionately on the cause. We would like to thank them all for all the efforts they have done.

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7. What is a Good Human in your point of view?

A person who spends their life working on something that will outlast it.

8. If you had the resources, how would you change the world or influence change to the good?

We believe in using all the available resources to every individual to their best knowledge and using their relevant expertise to create positive impact towards a problem their heart urges to solve. If we each do a simple change within our community, that alone has the ability to create that ripple effect that affects neighbouring communities and eventually the whole world in a big circle of positive energy. We must first start at home!

9. What is one valuable thought you can share that has really impacted the way you thought?

To search for and fulfil that purpose which serves people beyond you.

10. Moto?

“The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it” William James.

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To find out more, visit the website on www.super-hope.org

Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest

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!”

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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