The U-Lead is open to students aged 12 – 19 years from various schools as well as those learning from home.
Participants have the opportunity to:
- Learn valuable leadership skills
- Explore topics relevant to the charity
- Participate in activities and work on group projects
- Gain information about Operation Smile Student Programs
- Connect with club members and speak with Operation Smile Staff, Patients and Medical Volunteers
- and much, much more!
This three day educational forum aims to build future leaders through values of commitment and volunteerism.
The forums take place over a weekend and are scheduled three times a year to coincide with end of term holidays.
Due to current circumstances our U-Leads have gone virtual!
Through this exciting development, participants are not only able to network and share experiences with students and volunteers residing in the UAE but with international participants and supporters as well!
Our next U-Lead will be held on the 19th – 21st August!
Watch this space for more details coming in July.
To make sure you don’t miss out on updates, make sure to sign-up as a student volunteer.
Spring U-Lead – 2021
8th-10th April 2021
In celebration of Operation Smile UAE’s tenth anniversary, the Spring U-Lead teams were named after UAE patients, and as a surprise, these lovely patients agreed to surprise the teams by crashing one of their team meetings. This moment indeed served as the highlight for the U-Lead attendees.
Other highlights of this U-Lead included Dr Philipp’s session explaining cleft conditions and his role as an anesthesiologist. The patient story session featured one-year-old Emmanuel, whose mom presented pictures of him during the medical mission and described the life-changing impact Operation Smile had on their family. The event also had a strong international presence from Latin American OS foundations, where Anyela and Daniela from OS Peru showcased activity highlights of their foundation. Furthermore, Carlos, International Student Programs Manager and his team of international students informed participants on the upcoming initiative for OS student programs, the Global Leadership Council (GLC), which will serve as an advisory team for all OS student councils in the future.
Over the three-day event, 7 teams worked on creating infographics or videos to send as reminders for post-surgery care instructions to patients and parents. Amal, a volunteer nurse, helped attendees better understand post-surgery care by briefing them and answering questions on the same. The stunning projects created were showcased during the closing ceremony and will serve as efficient resources to send post-surgery care reminders.
This first U-Lead of 2021 was fortunate enough to have a 10,000AED sponsorship from G4S, a multinational security services company whose Communications Executive, Daniel Blackman, also guided students through a highly informative tricks and tips session on creating effective infographics.
Winter U-Lead – 2020
17th-19th December 2020
The Winter U-Lead was launched as the last fundraising event for 2020. This time around, Dr Eeva-Liisa, a long-time medical volunteer of Operation Smile UAE, briefed attendees on cleft conditions and her role as a pediatrician during a medical mission. Dentist Dr Mary and Dietician Elsa shared their knowledge on dental hygiene and nutrition, respectively, which are among the important health care module topics presented by student ambassadors during a mission. The patient story session featured Robert, who inspired participants by sharing his experience and struggles as someone born with a cleft.
Giving a glimpse on the varied operations of Operation Smile foundations around the world, Abhishek, the Executive Director of Operation Smile India, and Morag, the Executive Director of Operation Smile UAE presented the projects organized by their respective foundation during the pandemic. Club leaders from three active school clubs also shared their experience of running a virtual club and having successful events despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
The 47 active participants of the Winter U-Lead were grouped into 5 teams named after OS program countries. Each team worked on developing innovative virtual fundraising campaign proposals to run over the one-month winter break. Proposals submitted by the teams were reviewed at the end of the event, and the best campaign ideas were selected to run virtual fundraisers. The 5 teams through their combined efforts were able to raise 6,222AED for the cause within a month.
Summer U-Lead – 2020
21st-23rd August 2020
This was the first-ever virtual U-Lead held by Operation Smile Student Programs UAE. The event featured medical volunteers, Dr Derek, Kayla and Cathryn, who explained their roles as a plastic surgeon, child life specialist and speech & language therapist, respectively. Attendees also had the chance to hear the impact of Operation Smile UAE from two recent patients, Princess and Rex.
Sessions such a ‘how to set up a school club?’, ‘how to organize an event?’ and ‘student mission stories’ featured OS student ambassadors and club leaders who shared their experiences and insights as student volunteers.
The 50 active participants were grouped into 9 teams named after OS patients. They were tasked to work on a fundraising event proposal for a school club during the event. The U-Lead wrapped on reviewing these amazing fundraising ideas proposed by each team which were documented as event proposal guides for OS school clubs.
Pre-U-Lead – 2020
18th-19th July 2020
Pre-U-Lead was a virtual pilot event that aimed to test and record feedback from a small group of participants to effectively prepare for the official U-Lead in August. Members from the two active OS school clubs, GEMS Cambridge and The Cambridge High were invited to attend this trial event. An online fundraising challenge was also launched to test the idea of a virtual fundraiser organized by students during U-Leads.
The one-month-long virtual fundraiser turned out to be a huge success. The 5 teams raised a total of 20,555AED through various fundraising campaigns. This event enabled the OS team to gain first-hand experience of how to organize a successful virtual event.