Spread a Smile volunteers at Rashid Hospital to cheer up patients — by Maan Jalal on Khaleej Times com|Aga Khan Scouts and Guides Group, (AKSG)

Taking time out from your day to make someone else smile is a simple but great gesture. The Spread a Smile initiative organized by Oxygen Management Consultants along with Aga Khan Scouts and Aga Khan Guides Group, (AKSG) have been doing just that for the last four years.

Smile volunteers from Ismaili centre Dubai visiting patients

This year around 40 Spread a Smile volunteers visited approximately 125 patients in total, some of who were in car and motorbike accidents, and some who were suffering from burns.

On December 31 every year, volunteers ranging from 11 – 27 years old visit Rashid Hospital’s trauma centre with gifts and balloons to celebrate the beginning of a new year with patients who are unable to join their families and friends.

This year around 40 Spread a Smile volunteers visited approximately 125 patients in total, some of who were in car and motorbike accidents, and some who were suffering from burns. Volunteers took the time to strike up a conversation, share jokes, listen to the patients’ stories and tried their best to put a smile on their faces.

“The concept is to spread smiles amongst people on New Year’s Eve,” said Amirali Shariff, AKSG, Group Scout Leader. “There was a guy from Pakistan who got involved in a motorbike accident and he had absolutely no one in Dubai who he can call his family. So some of the kids went to see him. He himself has two kids back home and he was absolutely overwhelmed with the gesture that these kids came to see him and speak to him. Most patients are in the same situation. Although they have friends, around New Year’s Eve most people are working or have their own plans so if they aren’t family, they aren’t going to visit.”

AKSG is based at the Ismaili Centre Dubai and registered with Sharjah Scout Mission. Their main purpose is to serve the community and they have been involved in planning and participating in major events including the Terry Fox Run, the Diabetes Walk, and Clean Up campaign. The Spread the Smile campaign not only changes the atmosphere of the hospital but helps the moral of patients who are ill and far from family and friends.

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