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Sunday, March 7, 2021

A group of young people try to walk a mile in Qatar cleaners’ shoes

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All photos by Nada Badawi

Shortly before sunset yesterday, about a dozen cleaners in Qatar were seen relaxing and lying down on the green stretch of grass next to the Sheraton Doha on the Corniche.

The reason: the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning had informed them that a group of young people would be taking over their role for two hours.

Ten people turned up to do the cleaning, sporting yellow vests with “Help Them” written in Arabic on the back, as part of a community-building exercise. They were joined by several families hanging out in the area, who were urged to help by a mascot dressed in a wig, mask and rubber-made green arms.

Clean up

Mirna Mahmoud, a 17-year-old Egyptian expat, was the youngest organizer involved, in a team of about 10 people up to 27 years old. Some are working full-time, while others are students in high school and university.

Mahmoud told Doha News that the campaign only began last Friday, when her group decided to compete in a program called “Participate for a Better Life.”

The program, which is being held by Al Asmakh Charity Foundation and Tomoh For Voluntary Work Management, aims to promote and encourage community development initiatives by urging young people in Qatar to find a problem in the community and suggest solutions to solve it.

Many of the initiatives are supported by prominent government-based associations, NGOs and corporations, Al Watan reports.

We All See You billboard

In the case of the cleanup, the project caught the attention of the MMUP, which has been running an awareness campaign about public littering.

Mahmoud said her group chose cleanups as their idea because it was “relevant and beneficial” to the community and could be easily conducted in under two weeks.

“We thought what better way to relate to the cleaners’ problems than through assuming their roles? Especially that we find it unreasonable for anyone to bend down their backs and pick up someone else’s trash all day everyday,” she added.

Cleaning up the public area helped raise awareness about not littering in the area, and hopefully got kids to think about what they do with their trash, Mahmoud said, adding:

“The kids are at a very young age where they can easily absorb the importance of cleaning up after one’s self, unlike adults who can easily forget about it in two days.”

Working with Al Baladiya

Speaking to Doha News, MMUP employee Asma Al Sahli, who is supervising the campaign, said the ministry has cleared the team to hold four public events.

But before that, the team attended a workshop where they learned how to assume the role of public cleaners and communicate with the public.

As part of the partnership with the ministry, Al Sahli said that the team of organizers has been asked to come up with ways to improve cleaners’ working conditions.

“We designed a body that personified a public cleaner and we dressed him up in a white uniform with several pockets, sunglasses, a head-fan and we’re almost done with it to submit it to the ministry,” Mahmoud said.

Reactions

On Twitter, several people have been discussing the cleanup experience under the hashtag #شاركنا_وخلك_مكانه (Join us and put yourself in his place).

Tweet

Translation: “The weather temperature + the time spent standing and walking on our feet + bending down and getting back up = has reassured us that the job of the cleaner is not something to be taken lightly.”

Following the cleanup, a schoolgirl at Amna Bin Wahab Secondary Independent School said:

“We now know how the cleaners feel and what they go through, especially at this terrible weather.”

A Qatari woman who came to the Corniche with her husband and two children added, “It is an excellent initiative and I commend the youths for starting such a wonderful campaign.”

The campaign concludes tonight with a cleanup at Hyatt Plaza, from 5pm to 7pm.

Thoughts?

12 COMMENTS

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Vdm
Vdm
6 years ago

Finally, a worthy and sensible initiative. Unlike the ridiculous ‘ reflect yr respect ‘ campaign.

Anon
Anon
6 years ago

The second photo down is maybe the creepiest thing I’ve seen since Pinhead. Nice idea, though.

PlanetCitizen
PlanetCitizen
6 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Ya….it is like the American NSA spying on their own people,

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/united-states-of-secrets/

PlanetCitizen
PlanetCitizen
6 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Well…I was speaking about the 3rd pic down….

Tarek El Sherif
Tarek El Sherif
6 years ago

Why wasn’t this advertised in the newspaper?? I would have been more than happy to participate! Such a lovely initiative!

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

I think any idiot who throws garbage from his/her car or litters in general should be required to do this.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

Turfing rubbish out the window at the Petrol station is my personal favourite

truth.e.ness
truth.e.ness
6 years ago

Do participants get to sleep in the industrial zone in a room with 7 other men, ride in an unairconditioned TATA bus and live on a laborers wage for a week? Too easy. Seriously, I like this, and as @tarek_el_sherif:disqus said, advertise it.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Tokenism – pure and simple.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Did any Qatari kids participate? I can’t see them mentioned here, Qatar belongs to them of course so they should have a strong interest in keeping it clean.

scotslad
scotslad
6 years ago

a great idea well done!

Jen
Jen
6 years ago

It’s a great iniative–but what’s with the creepy, black wigged mascot and the huge yellow signs around Doha stating ‘we are watching you’? Enough to make anyone feel paranoid. It seems people are really thinking though. Would like to do something though about people who feel they can insult others by spitting on them.

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