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Parinaaz Navdar

Parinaaz Navdar is one of the people ViUAE could not manage without! Read the interview with the bubbly Project Manager here!

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What do you do for a living?

I'm a journalist - I write for a monthly magazine.

How did you start off with volunteering?

Let’s just say my mother ‘persuaded’ me to help at an event in 2009 when I had returned from university and was looking for something to do. This was back when VIUAE was still Volunteer in Dubai and there was no website. We would confirm our attendance via Facebook and it was just Lola and her trusty laptop and excel sheets!

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

Seeing how the projects personally affect individuals and families - from mummies and babies going home through the Babies Behind Bars project, to lost pets being reunited with their owners, or raising money for free mammograms for women who can’t afford medical care – there are so many way in which everyone’s efforts contribute to helping another person out. I’ve also made some (hopefully) lifelong friends, and if it wasn’t for VIUAE, I probably wouldn’t have found my two wonderfully insane dogs.

Describe your work as a Project Manager. What is it you do, and how do you do it?

As project manager for Hair for Hope, I've helped with finding suitable salons for events, handling the Facebook page, and coordinating appointments for events - it's been a lot of admin work behind the scenes. We seem to have finally had a breakthrough in our aim to make wigs for patients in the Middle East though, and can’t wait to announce details! Im super excited to be handing over the reins to a new project manager, (who will be announced soon!) so that she can focus on growing Hair for Hope UAE, and allow me to take the project Im most passionate about to the next level also!

With Action for Animals, however, the work is more hands on - we are at Sharjah Cats and Dogs Shelter every week, cleaning up enclosures, walking dogs, deticking them, grooming cats, helping at adoption days, while at the same time constantly growing the pool of team leaders who take on more responsibilities every month, and helping with other tasks such as general clean-up of the shelter, and getting the word out about dogs for adoption through Dubizzle and other channels. ME Cats is another shelter where volunteers help with cleaning and grooming cats every Friday. We are also talking to at least two other shelters about helping out on a regular basis, so hopefully there are a few more animal-related projects on the horizon!

In what ways is your work as a Project Manager different from (or similar to) what you expected?

Friends who know me are well aware I have very little patience and being PM has meant I've had to learn to be a lot more tolerant. I'm guessing that’s a good thing! I’ve also seen how people are quick to point fingers and mud-sling given the slightest opportunity and I'm so proud of Lola for ploughing through all the crap to keep VIUAE going like a well-oiled machine. That being said, however, being part of the team, I've also seen existing VIUAE projects grow organically year on year, while constantly adding more projects – so we must be doing something right!

Parinaaz Navdar

Where do you originally come from and how long have you been in the UAE?

I moved to Dubai from Bombay when I was five years old. I have lived here a total of 20 years now.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you aren’t volunteering!!?

When I'm not volunteering, I'm either planning my next holiday, watching movies, reading, or baking

Can you recall any heart-warming experiences you’ve had as a Project Manager and volunteer?

Oh my god! There are far too many! I remember how a dog went missing and in the course of one afternoon, a group of about 30+ volunteers signed up to distribute flyers all over Dubai and the next morning, the beautiful dog was back with her very hysterical foster mum! Similarly, another time, Senses’ premises weren't ready for the children to move in on time, and once again, a group of volunteers worked all day and late into the evening, fixing beds, painting walls, and arranging furniture to make sure that staff and children would not have to spend another night in discomfort without proper amenities. I think that’s what I love most about being part of the VIUAE family – you just have to say the word and everyone rallies to get the job done and help in any way possible!

What would you say to a future Project Manager?

Being project manager is not just about bossing people around – show them how something needs to be done, communication is important. And loyalty!

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