The young women behind New Dawn Society set a fine example to others their age, both in their altruism and the wise use of their time.
When a group of young Bahrainis set out to launch the New Dawn Society in 2006, the key was in the name.
“The ‘new dawn’ refers to the new generation of Bahrainis, who want to do things differently and who have a creative approach towards charity,” notes Nazli Tawfeeqi, the president of the society.
This approach means that members bring in new concepts in their events that turn into crowd pullers and raise thousands of dinars for charity. At the beginning of each year, the board meets to decide on an annual theme around which it tailors its annual fundraiser and ongoing events for members.
With the theme for 2013 being food, the New Dawn Society held a culinary festival in December, which featured live cooking stations, a baking section, cookery classes by celebrity chefs and a cook off judged by Afnan Al Zayani and Dr Dalal Al Sharooqi.
“The idea was to introduce talented home chefs to the community. Out of the 26 kiosks at the event, 20 were put up by gifted Bahraini men and women who wish to turn their hobby into a business. One guy sold 120 burgers in a couple of hours,” she recalls.
The BD1,500 raised at the event will go towards buying electric wheelchairs for the disabled. Noting that many women have lost interest in cooking, the society held classes with a celebrity Lebanese chef to encourage their gastronomical skills.
“In addition to charity, we aim to engage young Bahraini women to do something useful, and to spend their time wisely and in ways that benefit them,” Nazli says.
“This involves picking up useful tips and engaging in positive pastimes, such as yoga. Last year, New Dawn Society focused on wellbeing and ran courses for members in healthy eating and meditation.”
In May this year, Nazli and her group ran a book collection drive that saw over 1,000 books being donated to the library of an impoverished village school in Kenya. They plan to undertake a similar initiative this year.
“There are many youngsters in Bahrain who have special skills, but they’re clueless about how they can turn them into a viable career. We focus on helping these people with events and courses that will hone their creativity,” says Nazli.Shy women, who became members of New Dawn Society, have shown remarkable improvement in confidence, leadership skills and organisational abilities. Bahraini women in their twenties and thirties, who wish to contribute to the community, are encouraged to visit their blog.