How do you involve young people in labour-intensive welfare projects? Make it fun and turn it into a competition!
Ayadi Relief Organisation is relatively new in the social welfare field in Bahrain. However, they’ve captured the imagination of the Kingdom’s youth with their home renovation project. Designed as a competition, the project is termed Baitkum Baitna, which in Arabic translates as ‘your house is our house’.
“As youth, we want to leave our mark in Bahrain. Hence, we chose this project to adopt and renovate old and dilapidated homes, which don’t fall under the purview of the Ministry of Housing,” says Hala Ali, head of projects.
Four teams are picked from a pool of applicants and team members have to rebuild, paint and furnish the home allotted to them within a month. Team members are encouraged to work as much as possible with their own hands for a closer involvement with the homes and families. The first three editions of Baitkum Baitna in 2013 saw the renovation of 12 houses.
“Our aim is to build motivation in youth and engage them in something worthwhile. In order to ensure that they do the tasks with passion and perfection, we decided to turn it into a competition,” says Nisreen Al Maowdah, head of events.
Volunteers are clubbed into four teams, each having 12 members. The team is provided a kit that comprises images of the house and BD500 in cash. They are allowed to raise funds independently through donations or sponsorship as each house entails an expenditure of BD3,000 to 7,000.
Every team is allotted an engineer and supervisor, whose expertise they can count on. They’re also provided contact details of painters, contractors and building material suppliers, who they might need to consult in course of the renovation. There is an orientation day when the teams get an overview of the work before they begin.
“Throughout the month there are surprise elements in the competition, wherein we provide teams with things they badly want, such as an air conditioner or a sofa set. It turns into a sort of treasure hunt, where volunteers are rushing all over Bahrain to collect the merchandise that will beautify the house further,” says Hala.
Volunteers have even driven down to Saudi Arabia to buy furniture for their house in order to save money. At the end of four weeks, judges visit the renovated homes and rate the teams on seven criteria — creativity, interior design, money management, media savvy factors, perfectionism in work, team work and best outstanding individual effort.
Such has been the popularity of the project, which has received television coverage in Bahrain, that there’s now a waiting list of volunteers for the second edition of Baitkum Baitna in 2014. There will be three editions of the project this year, renovating 12 homes
Those wishing to donate or sponsor household items or materials can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.