70+ students and faculty participate in toy-making session

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Some of the plush toys made during the workshop (EMMY YACOUB PHOTO)

By Emmy Yacoub and Moza AlKhayyal

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – Toys created during a workshop held Feb. 21-22 by the American University of Sharjah’s Community Service and Outreach Office will be given to orphans during an annual international trip, an AUS staff member said.

Community Service and Outreach Coordinator Amawi El Khalifa said the expected destination this year is a village in Thailand. She explained that a renovation process, involving student volunteers, will take place during the trip. El Khalifa added that it will most likely happen at the end of May.

Essra Alshawabkeh, an AUS junior, said the workshop taught her how to thread and provided an opportunity for different people to meet and work toward a good cause. Alshawabkeh added she made a colorful Mickey Mouse toy because she thought the kids would prefer something vibrant.

An assistant professor in the Performing Arts Program who teaches classes in theatre, Isabela Tavares, was a volunteer and workshop leader training student helpers.

Tavares said “I have been in AUS for six years and this is the most community-driven event I have seen students engage in.”

The Toy Stories Workshop, sometimes called the Toy Stories Initiative, has been an annual event until the pandemic interrupted it in 2020.