06 March 2015

volleyball raises awareness of human trafficking

?They are saving lives; the group helps poor girls who have been forced into prostitution from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, it?s the perfect cause for us to put our motivation in,? she said.


Her team, Enthusiastic, has been participating in volleyball tournaments for years and all funds it gathers go to the Ewa?a cause.


?Doing so, we are raising funds but also raising awareness because a lot of people don?t know anything about Ewa?a,? said Ms Le Bon-Poonoosamy. ?We are doing our bit to make people realise that this problem is also happening here in Abu Dhabi. ?It?s beautiful, because now all these teams here know about Ewa?a.?


Edna Guedes joined the competition partly due to her love of the sport but said that the cause has also brought people along to participate.


?I love the sport, of course, but doing anything to help the community is very important and to make use of it in this environment is very important,? she said.


Ms Guedes, who works for the Angolan embassy in the UAE, has been sidelined from her team due to a ligament injury but has joined the competition as a volunteer. ?I think all the girls care a lot and now that you can see they are finding out more about the cause,? she said.


One of the girls who had previously been unaware of the problem of human trafficking was 15-year-old Negin Nasir, from the Dubai Volleyball Players Club.


?We?ve been practicing a lot and now that we know that it?s for a cause, we are even happier to be competing in this competition,? she said.

Her team-mate, Rojan Lotdoust, 17, said that this is among one of many ways to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking.


?I do a lot of community work, and volunteering,? said Rojan, ?and now that I know about this, I would of course want to help out.?


Her predominantly Iranian team agreed that the cause was something they would look into raising awareness of independently.


Trophies and medals were awarded to all competitors at the closing ceremony, by Sara Shuhail, the general director of Ewa?a Shelters and by Madame Genevieve Miraillet, of the French embassy.


All proceeds from the tournament will go to Ewa?a Shelters for victims of human trafficking.

Ewa?a has a 24-hour hotline for complaints and those looking to volunteer: 800 7283.