Our journey in the UAE started as far back as 2011, when Dr Jane was invited to speak at the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi, alongside other high prominent Global environmental icons. After a successful meeting with a very respected member of the royal family, Her Excellency Razan Al Mubarak, and subsequent proposals to the Environment Agency, we won a five-year funding pitch, to start R&S in the UAE.
Developing the pilot programme was the first step in Abu Dhabi and subsequently, the programme has now spread to Dubai and AL-Ain, mainly through word of mouth and recommendations. One of the major highlights of our journey was when Roots & Shoots was selected as one of the key education programmes by the Ministry of Education in Dubai. Our resources were then uploaded to their main educational platform, which finally brought it to the Government schools across the UAE.
I undertook a return trip to the UAE this month, visiting both long-standing member schools and new schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It was heart-warming to see how much Roots & Shoots has become, not just a programme, but a way of life for our young members. They have embraced its qualities as a fundamental part of both their national curriculum and their day-to-day activities for living a more environmentally conscious life and hence leaving a lighter ecological footprint on our precious planet.
Here are just a few of the highlights;
Pristine Private School – Dubai – under the expert leadership of Zainab Roker the school has been highly active in environmental and humanitarian work including the Eco School Green Flag and the NASA Astronaut Project. They will soon be taking part in our Twinning Programme with the UK. I was honoured to be the keynote speaker at their Graduation Event at Amati University during my visit.
Delhi Private School – Dubai – The Principal, Rashmi Nandkeolyar has started to embrace Roots & Shoots through some exciting Eco projects which will help protect exotic animals and reduce carbon emissions.
Abu Dhabi Indian School, Muroor – under Aditi and her amazing team the school had attended our Virtual Roots & Shoots Awards last year. The students are hugely active with an amazing water saving project, HOLD THAT DROP which includes the creation of an exciting and innovative new app. They will also be taking part in our Twinning Programme.
GEMS United Indian School – thanks to the dedication of Bhindu Zachariah and her team, they have undertaken a huge variety of Roots & Shoots projects including an environmental exhibition with a range of eco-friendly practical designs and a creative environmental fashion show.
Fairgreen International School – one of our longest standing members, under Adam Hall’s amazing leadership, Fairgreen have developed impressive organic gardens and an animal rescue centre. A Jane Goodall building block, with her wise sayings displayed around the school, lays testament to her influence and vision.
The Arbor School – the Arbor School is an international, ecological school, based on the British curriculum and offers places in Foundation Stage 1 through to Year 9. Started in 2019, three years ago by a Doctor who wanted to originate a school with the focus on sustainability incorporated into every subject.
Their work includes amazing eco education Domes; a building named after Jane, and an animal rescue centre.
Abu Dhabi and Gems United Indian School have really paved the way through integrating the programme so successfully and getting whole school involvement, in some cases over 3000 students have taken part in one project! We also continue to welcome new members including the Pristine and Delhi private schools and the Dubai Gem Private School who have started to develop some exciting Roots & Shoots activities.
What an amazing journey it has been, and we are so proud of all our member schools, students, teachers, parents and the wider community in the UAE. Onwards and upwards.