Four GEMS Schools have been recognized globally with the Sewa Pioneers Award. The award, which was given in the presence of UK Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron, recognizes those with the spirit of selflessness who devoted time to the service of others through global volunteering initiative Sewa Day.
The four GEMS schools honoured include Our Own English High School - Al Ain; The Kindergarten Starters –Dubai; The Westminster School – Dubai; and GEMS World Academy. They were among 13 schools from around the world shortlisted for the annual award, and were four of ten GEMS Schools shortlisted for the award. Each school was chosen by an independent panel of judges in London who assessed each school’s Sewa Day activities based on factors such as good organization, creativity, outcome and impact, sustainability and “wow factor.” Our Own English High School, Sharjah Boys, also received the Chairman’s award at the same ceremony.
Hosam Al Madani, a Grade 11 student, from GEMS World Academy, Dubai, spoke about the student initiated activities that their school got involved in. “I appreciate the life I am living and I always did because I saw people living in poverty and in bad conditions back in my home country. I don’t like to be sad, because I know I am lucky to be living this life that I am living right now. When I think of that I smile. Sewa Day reminded me of that, it reminded me how lucky we are. Sometimes we ask ourselves and complain about why we can’t live better or have this house or that car and more money. But we usually forget what a fortunate life we are living in right now,” he said.
This year, through the Varkey GEMS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of GEMS Education, more than 65,000 students from GEMS schools in the UAE, UK and USA participated in Sewa Day by organizing 140 volunteering events. Sewa is a universal concept that involves performing an act of kindness with no expectation of reward. It is performed selflessly and without ulterior motive.
One parent from Our Own English High School, Al Ain shared their thoughts on the activity that provided gifts for the Support staff of the school. “I was overwhelmed at the gesture shown by the people of OOEHS, Al Ain. It definitely brought a smile to all the support staff, whose joy had no bound.
Till today they talk about the heart rendering gifts given by the students,” said the parent.
“We are proud that GEMS Schools have been recognized for their efforts to make Sewa Day successful and meaningful. Our schools provide value based education that complements the work of parents and students themselves; this approach helps our young people to develop a social consciousness that translates into practical actions that ultimately improves their communities and the world at large” said Margaret Atack, Group Senior Director, Education for GEMS Education.
She added “Initiatives like Sewa Day help our students to develop many important and essential values; not least, that of putting the needs of others first”.