Hatrack Heroes! Episode 4
UNDERNEATH THE GLITZ
Guest: Casie Martin
Organisation: Little People Big Hearts
Release: 7th December 2019
They might not be the first people you see, or the first people you think of when you come to the beautiful city of Dubai, but there are thousands upon thousands of men working in the city of Dubai creating what Casie from 'Little People Big Hearts' calls 'The City Of Gold'.
Nick: Hey everybody, and welcome to another episode of Hatrack Heroes! And today I’m here interviewing Casie, and she runs a charity in the Middle East called ‘Little People, Big Hearts’. So Casie, how are you today?
Casie: I’m great, how are you?
Nick: Good, thank you very much. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and just a small introduction about the charity?
Casie: Sure, so I’ve been here coming up to seven and a half years, working for Emirates, and absolutely love it… and the group, ‘Little People, Big Hearts’ it’s mainly just to focus on the labour workers here in Dubai, so it’s the men that build the ‘city of gold’.
Nick: Why… how did you get involved in this?
Casie: So random actually how it actually came about. So, I’d never experienced Ramadan and a friend and I were sitting here in our first Ramadan 7 years ago, and it’s about giving back, that’s one of the 5 pillars of Islam. So, we jumped onboard, and we said look… let’s create something, and let’s start collecting clothes, and actually hand out to these men to say thank you during Ramadan.
Nick: For those of you who aren’t aware, Ramadan is a time of the year for one month of the Islam calendar where they will abstain from pleasure in the hope of trying to feel the way the less fortunate feel.
Okay, so you started off giving clothes during Ramadan. From there, how did you then expand, and it become what it is now?
Casie: So, we were really lucky with all the support we had from people. I’ve never actually realised how many clothing that we accumulate ourselves in our wardrobes. So, what we did, was we asked… social media is a huge thing for us, so we put it out there, and said ‘does anyone have any clothes, and the response that we got from people was just phenomenal. And, so we actually just collected a whole lot, and it got so, so big that we decided why not just do this in Ramadan, why don’t we do this every month. And from then on, we managed to get some contacts, and we started to grow the group.
Nick: And how many of you in this group are there?
Casie: As of today, there’s 5,500 of us
Nick: 5 and a half… all in Dubai?
Casie: Yes, all in Dubai, and there’s a few in other countries as well.
Nick: Okay, so we’ll get onto that at a later stage. But um… So, 5,500 people, you’re in charge of all that… what is everyone’s role?
Casie: So, I am the organiser… so, what I do because of my roster, find out what days I’m here, and we then put it out on social media. So, it’s a nice group because you don’t feel like you have to be here on a date to do it, so it’s just flexible. So, if people are here, they come if they’re willing to do it, which is a nice atmosphere as well.
Casie: People collect for me, people will give me gifts… it’s actually a beautiful thing.
Nick: So, you’re in charge, you organise everything. Do you have other people in charge? Is there a financial thing, is there someone in charge of communication, social media, this kind of thing, or just yourself?
Casie: It’s just myself doing the social media side of it. Financial, on the financial side… due to the UAE law we don’t deal with any money, because that becomes illegal and that’s opening up another can of worms. But, we make it possible by collecting gifts, collecting clothing, bags, toiletries, which from then we put in storage… which I’ve got a little storage area, and then when we go out once a month we load the cars up, and we take the items and it just goes in a circle like that, so it’s a very easy process.
Nick: And, so, where do you take these items? Is it where they work? Is it their home?
Casie: So, where they live… dotted in about four different locations around Dubai, is massive amounts of compounds, so companies hire these compounds to house these men. So, you’ve got the men who work in the ports, ah, you’ve got ones that are cleaners, construction workers… And It’s just literally like a whole other world of Dubai.
Casie: It’s like an entire city… it’s, it’s mad!
Nick: Would you say that people that are tourists for example, they don’t see this do they?
Casie: Definitely not!
Casie: It’s a very, very different side to Dubai than people would see from Sheikh Zayed Road, and glitz and glamour.
Nick: yeah, it’s something to really appreciate. You see this glitz and glamour, as you say, and you see these amazing buildings here, and yeah, it’s basically down to these workers.
Casie: That’s what I say, that these are the men that built the city of gold… because you don’t see them necessarily, the house you live in, the Burj Khalifa. These men just literally worked hours and hours, like 12-hour shifts… In the heat when it’s 40 degrees. And, as per the UAE, when it gets to 50 degrees…
Casie: No one’s allowed to be working outside. But have you ever noticed, that it never gets over 50 degrees?
Nick: No, it never gets over 50. The place where they live, how is it? What are you finding when you get there? Is it just a nest of people, or… what’s it like?
Casie: It’s, let’s just say somewhere I wouldn’t like to live. It’s very, very heart breaking.
Casie: You go in, and it’s just like a massive village, and it’s just washing hanging up everywhere. All the little uniforms, their blue uniforms, the yellow uniforms. You see socks hanging up, and the socks have big holes in them. You see tiny air conditioning units on the outside of the buildings, and chances are they’re not working.
Casie: And I’ve been in the position where I’ve actually been allowed into these camps.
Nick: On that, just to digress… you’re getting access from the companies, or the government has to give you access or?
Casie: So, I managed to meet a lovely called Omar, and he’s an owner of a labour camp. So, I met him seven years ago, and he’s opened up a whole new world for me. Putting me in touch with the Dubai government. So, the Dubai Municipality, and the Ministry of Labour, every time I go out, they come with me. What they do, is that they do spot checks on these camps, to ensure there’s only a certain amount of men inside each room, cause there’s a limit. You’re not meant to have more than six men in one room.
Nick: Oh right, and what are you actually seeing?
Casie: I’ve seen 14 bunk beds inside a room with shower caddies hanging off, that all their prized possessions go into that.
Casie: And it’s just literally like a shoe box, it’s very, very heart breaking.
Nick: And so, okay, if you’re going in there… and if the government are seeing this. What’s done at that point?
Casie: So, they actually put like a warning out to the company that they have to buck up their ideas and change it before the next spot check, otherwise they’re issued with a massive amount of fines. And it’s nice as well, I’ve witnessed these men from the government going and talking to the workers and assuring that they have their passports. That they have all of these.
I would love to know the amount of workers there are in Dubai, it just be like 10’s of thousands… it’s like little ants.
Casie: But if they can just try to make a difference bit by bit. I really hope that they can, but I know that they won’t be able to change everything, which is the sad reality.
Nick: it’s great to know that the Government are really trying to make changes in that situation. What’s one of the things that you notice?
Casie: As I said, every camp is completely different, but for me the most horrific one was there were six mattresses in the room
Nick: …in the room
Casie: …and so what happens is , as I said you only allowed to have six beds in one room. And I noticed there were possessions at either end of the beds, and I thought that was very odd. And I actually said to one of the guys in charge, ‘why is this here?’, and he goes ‘they have hot bed system’ where one would work for 12 hours, come in, and then the next one would go, so it’s literally hot bed. As someone is leaving, and then someone else comes in, so their prize possessions are at the head of the bed and the bottom, and they share that bed. I just…
Nick: same linen?
Casie: Yep, same linen, same everything, it is.. it is… it’s heart breaking. Like I don’t… These men, they come from these villages up in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal. They are promised the world. There’s even been cases in Bangladesh where these men, and quite often you see them as they‘re walking around the camps, you’ll see scars because some of them have sold their kidneys… to get money…
Casie: Yeah, it’s a huge thing because they need to pay to come to Dubai. They sell their kidneys, they go to loan sharks…
Nick: I’m shocked
Casie: …and they end up in here. They’re promised the world, and they get that.
Nick: I’m completely shocked, I never… wow (gasp), you’re kidding me.
Casie: Yeah, it’s… it shocks me, and this is why I say to people ‘please, when you see them on the street, just smile at them, say hello.
Nick: Say hello…
Not blowing my own trumpet, but there was a time a couple years ago I was living in an area where there was a lot of road works going on, and I was running most days around the area, and I just stopped one day and chat to one of them. He didn’t have much English, but enough to have a mini conversation. You know, I saw them every couple of days… on one of the days, I decided… I finished my run, I grabbed my broom, and went back with my broom, and they were basically sweeping up the sand through the pavers, so I just… was doing that with them. I was just chatting to them… It was really nice because one of the main guys grabbed my number, and he started calling me once a month saying ‘where are you, where are you?’ that’s a really bad accent, ahh… It was really quite cool because they are really, they’re just normal people like us, but we just look at them completely differently…
Casie: so normal
Nick: …because of either where they’re from or what they’re doing, you know what I mean.
Casie: There’s such a huge divide, especially here in Dubai with that, and a lot of people, they feel weird to go and say hello, or just to feel like that. And I mean if you feel like that, imagine how they feel.
Nick: Oh, honestly
Casie: I had the opportunity, it was actually amazing, so the men that wear orange... and they sweep the streets here. You see them walking around… I managed to get one of them, and I said ‘look, where are you from la la la la’, talked to him, and I asked for his managers number. And, managed to coordinate a meeting with 28 of them when they’d finished at 8pm one night. We went out, and it was for about 3 hours, they were all coming in from sweeping the streets. We gave them packages, gave them some old second hand cell phones, razors, little speakers, and just asking them like ‘where are you from, and your family?’.
Casie: Now, every time I see them on the street, they know my car, they know my name, they always say hello.
Nick: Oh wow, It’s such a nice feeling isn’t it.
Casie: It’s like… they’re just the sweetest humans, and I mean…
Nick: How’s that make you feel?
Casie: Like, ecstatic!
Nick: yeah, yeah!
Casie: in a weird way as well, like why do I feel this good, should I feel this good? But, they do that as well, like they feel that good, but everyone else makes it possible. So, if I can do that and inspire other people to do that, you can change the world one bit at a time, it’s really, really sweet.
Nick: For sure. So, going back to where they’re from and so forth. You’re saying Pakistan, Bangladesh, are they leaving their families behind?…What are they promised when they come here? What’s the story?
Casie: Ah, it’s so so sad… So, working for an airline, we do the Pakistani flights quite often, and you see them coming to Dubai with just a plastic bag, or going back home with just a plastic bag.
Casie: So, they’ve just left their families, and so people in Dubai, these recruiters they actually go to the rural parts, so it’s not from a big city like Karachi or Islamabad. It’s from ones that are very remote, and unfortunately, we are not all blessed to be born into a place that has education.
Casie: So, you’ve got to keep that in mind as well. So, when they show them these leaflets, and these pamphlets… and say ‘you’ll be living here, you’ll be getting this month a month’ etc… it’s really, really amazing for them, they’re like, I’ve made it big.
Nick: And is it a lie? Or is it…
Casie: It’s a lie!
Nick: And they’re targeting these villages on purpose?
Nick: Because they have no education
Casie: No education, and...
Nick: or less education should I say.
Casie: Yeah, and it’s really, really sad, because would they come to my city? would they do that? Would they promise me… there’s a point where you have rights And, now there’s been in the past 4 months, there’s a huge problem with them not being paid.
Casie: So, a lot of companies are going under, and what’s happening with that is these men, are not getting paid, they can’t go home, they’ve got no money for a flight home. So, they’re stuck here working, and not getting paid. The government are trying step by step…
Nick: Thankfully the Government are, because if they don’t, then who will?
Casie: It was in the media, some people may have seen it. And it actually said, if you’re having those problems, come in, and you’re not getting paid… you can’t get home…. Come into your embassy, and the government, or a happiness centre, and we will help you.
Nick: Oh ok, that’s good. So, these companies, they just…
Casie: The big dogs disappear, they run away.
Nick: (gasp) that’s shocking.
Casie: It’s really bad. So they’ve got families back home you know, some of them… and this is why if you talk to them…
Nick: Children, wives… even parents.
Casie: Four children, a wife… he hasn’t seen his wife or his children for 2 years.
Casie: and she’s relying on that money.
Casie: You see them all lined up on a Wednesday, or at the end of the month in their uniforms, and they’re just waiting there patiently in line. They’re sending home maybe a couple hundred dirhams.
Nick: which is nothing, like what’s that... let’s say US dollars, that’s probably, what $60 odd. That’s what, Is that per month, what…
Casie: Every camp’s different in every field. But yeah, there has been one where they’ve been getting as low as 60 (dirhams)… if they’re getting paid.
Nick: Wow! So, we’ve covered this very briefly… their living conditions, working conditions. Okay, they’re working in summer it’s very, very hot in the middle east, these guys are outside working. So, what you guys are doing, it’s commendable because you’re giving these guys something to smile about. For us it’s a small thing, but for them it’s huge. How does it make you feel when you see these guys? Giving these, say a package of clothing. It’s small… as I say, but how do you feel?
Casie: It’s the personal touch, I mean… being here in Dubai a lot of people can become desensitised. It’s just…
Nick: Of course
Casie: I don’t know why it does that to you but it can. So, to have people along-side me that have the same goal. Just to make someone smile, and to do this. I feel so… like I can’t even describe it, and I think it’s one of those feelings that you don’t know how you feel until you go do it. Some people who come out with me, they cry. Some literally, like, cry out of like happiness… that they’re just… I feel so good.
Nick: Able to contribute, yeah!
Casie: And some of them… so what happens is like, when we have clothing. So, for example, If you were to give me a bag of shirts... they love collared shirts.
Nick: Yeah, yeah, ok!
Casie: So, we size them up...
Casie: Because it’s also the personal touch. You’re not going to give a large to a tiny man.
Nick: No no no!
Casie: ..and you’re not going to give a small to a large man, and it also adds… they haven’t had that female interaction. They’re away from their mums from their wives, so you go and you’re like ‘hello hello’ do you like it. They’re very very shy, but the more you try and the more you talk to them, they warm up to you. And that’s such a nice factor. Same with shoes, you go and you’re like ‘size 41, size 42’, so it’s adding that touch. Get the pants, put it around their waist… they laugh.
Casie: Because it’s not something that they’re used to… but it just puts that personal touch to it instead of just shoving a top, and saying ‘here, thank you’. And I stress the importance of people, before we go out, I tell everyone, just ask them where they’re from, ask them about their children.
Nick: personal, yeah!
Casie: So, we take a lot of children’s toys out as well.
Nick: Ah, nice
Casie: So, the gifts that we get are a lot of children’s toys, and also woman’s handbags. So, if I was to go and give the man, one of these gentlemen a pair of shoes, or a woman’s handbag, chances are he’d take that woman’s handbag.
Nick: Aha, okay
Casie: How many people that we know would do that?
Nick: I would, hahaha!
Casie: (laugh) aha, of course you would.
Nick: That’s the… but that’s really… the fact that they’re not getting much themselves, but they’re still willing to go and give to their wife, or daughter, or son or whatever… that’s amazing.
Casie: It’s beautiful
Nick: For you, I mean, seeing this, it must be a gooey feeling I guess.
Casie: Yeah, it’s a really, really warming feeling. I go home, and sometimes I sit there and I reflect on it, and I’m… as I said, you can’t change the world, but you can one step at a time. And they’re human… you should want it. Just to say thank you… and for them, they always, always say thank you back to us.
Nick: Yeah, nice.
Casie: And they’re doing something bigger than what we’re doing...
Nick: I know, we take it for granted
Casie: Their lives are at risk!
Nick: You hear stories in the media where people just passed away… it comes across as just a small drop, but it’s actually… for us, if it’s a family member, it’s a big deal.
Casie: There are cases where there are men that disappear, I personally haven’t come across any, because I haven’t met any one that has disappeared… everyone I have met, I still know. But, depression is very, very high... I mean, for me I look at them when they’re on the bus, you see at 5-6pm every evening, you see these buses with no air-con, you see the tiny little fans, and I think… how? How, I mean if my car breaks down with the air-con I feel sad, I can’t even imagine that. Why can’t they give buses with air-con?
Nick: I don’t understand why these companies that are making these huge big buildings, they’re just so focussed upon the money
Nick: They’re so focussed upon what they’re going to get at the end of it. They don’t care about anything in between. Care about your workers, honestly!
Nick: I’ve seen construction sites, or road work places with a western named…
Nick: …company, and I think ‘maybe they’re treating their workers differently, but are they?
Casie: I say this to everyone, no two camps are the same
Casie: I have managed to meet some amazing camp owners, and their workers literally idolise them, and that’s beautiful to see… but then you can go from one extreme to the absolute next.
Nick: So, over the course of you running this, got any stories about any special people that you may have helped out or made their dreams come true?
Casie: Well, now that you actually mention it, one does come to mind. Life’s absolutely crazy how things work out. I met a South African girl who’d been telling me that she has a LCD tv that she didn’t want anymore…
Casie: and so, I mean electronics…
Nick: It’s not cheap
Casie: You can’t afford that… and so, I had previously, a month and a half earlier, met Mohammed, and he’s from north of Pakistan, up near Kashmir…
Casie: and he was a street cleaner, and so he said to me, just talking, and I said to him… “what was the one thing I could give you, anything, what would you want?” these men don’t want a lot.
Casie: I mean, sometimes they’ll ask for a bottle of water, for a phone card. You know, if you asked me what I want, I could tell you a million things.
Nick: (laugh) of course!
Casie: So, when the South African girl said to me about this TV, everything started connecting in my brain, so I got on my phone and I called Mohammed, and I said to him “What time are you finishing work in Satwa?” and he goes “I’ll be finished at 4:30”, I said “can you meet me at your finishing point where you get on the bus to go home” I said “I’ve got a present for you”, and he’s like “okay, okay”. So, I put the TV in my backseat and there he was standing there, and I said “are you ready for this?” and opened up the door, pulled out this TV, his smile was just… it was something…
Nick: ear to ear…
Casie: it’s like etched in my brain forever! And so there’s other people walking around the street looking at him. He chucks this LCD TV on his shoulder, and he just stands so proud… and he asks me to take a photo. His phone doesn’t have a camera, so he’s just “take a photo for me please”. And ah it was just absolutely incredible, and he said “I’m sending this home, no one in my village has this, I’m sending it home”.
Nick: Ah, you’re kidding me
Casie: It was amazing!
Nick: Probably now in his village, sitting up… everyone comes over… everyday there’s probably 20 people watching the cricket
Casie: Watch the cricket, yeah!
Nick: Yeah, of course
Casie: The South African girl, I sent her the photo, and I said “you’ve literally just… you just made this possible” she goes “I really did not expect it to get like this.”
Nick: No, I know I know…
Casie: That just gave me goose bumps!
Nick: Again, it’s like… so we take the people for granted, but we take their reactions and their feelings for granted as well like, this is such a positive vibe, positive feeling that this guys just given you.
Casie: It was such an amazing feeling, and to be the middle man to put those two together made me feel good, because he’d asked for something, and I made it possible. But this is it, because everyone has… everyone has trash. Or they call, or people contact me, and they’re like “I have these three suitcases I don’t know what to do”, and I’m like “I’ll take them”. Please, because these men come on the planes to go home… they come on with plastic bags, you give them a suitcase, their worlds changed.
Casie: And I mean, suitcases aren’t cheap either.
Nick: No, that’s it yeah.
Casie: So, it’s little things like that, but…
Nick: Makes me feel a little bit bad because, you know, I ‘ve had things I’ve needed to get rid of and I’ve sold them, and now I’m thinking it would’ve given me a much nicer feeling to have given it. The whole feeling you get from giving, I think outweighs the money.
Casie: I think a lot of people in Dubai are scared…
Casie: ...are scared of how to interact with these men. So, you wouldn’t want to just go up and give them a bag of clothes, because maybe you feel like you’ll be embarrassing them. Or, it’s just because it doesn’t’ feel right. This is why it’s amazing to talk to people, because it proves, and it shows to people through this success, that it is easy, it is possible and it can change some one’s life.
Nick: Of course, and do you know what, it’s not that hard to go up to someone. A couple times i’ve just gone to a supermarket, and bought dates, water, bits and pieces like rice and so forth, and just gone to where there’s a load of workers, and give them a bag, and it feels really, really, really good.
Nick: Feels amazing… but it’s so simple. To be honest, I didn’t speak to them that much. We did see the smile on their face. And then we just left, but… it was simple, it’s not hard.
Casie: You don’t even have to say anything
Casie: To say thank you
Casie: I think that’s what a lot of people forget as well
Casie: And… you see a guy on the street, don’t even ask him if he wants a drink. Just go and give
Nick: give it… of course
Casie: He’ll be so shocked. And one thing that’s beautiful… I’ve been to these countries, so I’ve had the opportunity to witness their culture and their traditions. When you do this, they’ll shake your hand, and then they’ll put it on their hearts. Have you ever noticed that?
Nick: Yeah, yeah!
Casie: It’s… it’s so sweet. For me that’s so personal, because they don’t do that to anybody. But it’s like saying thank you brother, thank you family… it’s a beautiful, beautiful gesture... And, for me every time still to this day, when someone shakes my hand, then puts their hand on their chest to say thank you on their heart... I’m just like (gasp), and now I do it.
Nick: Ah, do you
Casie: So, when I shake their hands, that’s what I do, and I’m like “you’ve also taught me something as well.
Nick: Yeah yeah, it’s nice
Casie: They’ve taught me a lot of things, but something beautiful like that it’s… I like that.
Nick: How can people in general become involved?
Casie: So, what I love about the Facebook page ‘Little People Big Hearts’, is there’s 5,500 people on there. Everyone’s like-minded, everyone’s there for the same goal… and it’s beautiful. Same as Instagram… we’re on there as well. And so, if I’m not available in Dubai, I always… some people have it naturally that they want to be leaders, or they want to create an event. I’ve had people say “Do you mind if I can do this? Can I ask if people want to join me, I have an initiative?” Sure, go for it because it doesn’t just take me to do it, it takes everyone else. I can give tips, I can give guidance, I can give contacts. And, also like advise people what to purchase, or what to collect. And, if someone wants to give something but doesn’t want to come you don’t have to… we have drop off points on Sheikh Zayed Road, Silicon Oasis, these are points where if you want, take bags of clothing, take hand bags, shoes.
Nick: Is that like those big giveaway bins that you see around
Casie: Those bins…
Nick: Uh oh, cause I’ve given to those bins...
Nick: What’s the story with those bins?
Nick: This is the not the drop off points that you’re talking about.
Nick: This is something different
Casie: Yes, this is another one, so please do not put into those bins. On the side it actually says everything is sold, and 10% goes to charities. So, a lot of people tell me this…
Nick: That’ll teach me to read
Casie: (laugh) but a lot of people tell me this, they say “oh, I put it in the bins”, and I’m like “no, next time give it to me please”. Because, we don’t do anything money wise, we don’t take money from anyone, because it becomes illegal. But it’s also a personal thing, if even if you don’t want to come out to the camps or the construction site. Someone said to me “it’s my birthday, I want to give you 500 dirhams”. Once I take money, it becomes political. I said to her “go to Carrefour, buy socks, buy underwear… they love those, they’re like necessities for them. They really, really, really need them.
Nick: What about things like toiletries and so forth, is that a good idea as well?
Casie: Toiletries… roll on
Nick: yeah… oh I see
Casie: They’ve never owned roll on, razors… disposable razors.
Casie: Just like things we don’t think about...
Nick: Just basics, yeah!
Casie: Umm, they also love small hand towels, or face cloths.. especially when it’s dusty.
Nick: Ahhh, I see… okay okay! So, basically the best thing food, clothing, and then daily life necessities
Casie: Yeah! Electronics as well… if people feel like they want to break up with their I-phone or something. An I-phone can literally change someone’s life.
Nick: Yeah, it’s a big deal
Casie: Yeah, it’s huge!
Nick: Are there other ways that people can help, like companies, like big business? Can they get involved somehow?
Casie: Yeah, of course. I mean, that’s one of the greatest things about these big companies, because they have the means to do it. Funny you say that, because I actually got approached by a company on social media. Red, Blue, Blur Ideas (RBBi), it’s a digital marketing company in Dubai, and they asked me “we don’t have the knowledge to do this, could you arrange something, and we provide the food, and the socks, and underwear and t-shirts. And we actually organised a day, and we out and handed all the gifts out.
Nick: That’s amazing
Casie: They were blown away, and…
Nick: Yeah, I bet, I bet!
Casie: …they didn’t expect that, they thought it would be a lot more tame.
Nick: Yeah, yeah!
Casie: But, it opened their eyes, and they actually approached me again saying they want to do it with another group of the people from the company.
Nick: Yeah, yeah!
Casie: So, things like that…
Nick: Wow… it’s great incentive for other companies to jump onboard as well at some point.
Casie: It is, it looks good, and it’s also something that brings them closer as a team.
Nick: Yeah, amazing. So, you mentioned, you have Facebook, you have Instagram… is this the best way for people to get in contact so they can be involved in these meet ups or events?
Casie: Yeah, for sure. So, every time we go out, we post on Instagram and Facebook!
Casie: And we say “this time, this place, we’re meeting… if you want to join, please do”, so you don’t have to feel like you have to come.
Nick: Yeah, okay!
Casie: Or if you’re available, then come. So, it’s very easy… it’s not set in stone. We always do it set in stone, the more people, the better it is. But we have also a limit of about 12 people. Because, too many people, we don’t want them to feel like they’re in a zoo, and it’s not as personal.
Nick: Yeah, okay.
Casie: But, on average, we have about 8 to 10 people coming out each time, because it’s during the week, it’s in the afternoon, it’s in the morning. It varies all the time, so, we’ve just got a go with the Ministry of Labour and what they say.
Nick: Okay! I think, I’d definitely like to come at some point… maybe even bring the microphone if that’s okay (laugh).
Casie: Yeah… Yeah… I’m sure they’d love to tell you some stories… they’ve got some good stories.
Nick: Yeah! I think it’d be great to hear some for sure.
Casie: After we’ve finished handing out the gifts, it’s pretty hectic.
Nick: Oh yeah!
Casie: It’s mad, it is absolutely mad…
Nick: Yeah, ah No way!! That’s so cool
Casie: …it’s grabbing, it’s pulling, but once it calms down, they say thank you.
Nick: Yeah, okay okay! I gotcha
Casie: It’s like a rollercoaster of emotions all within a short amount of time. But, afterwards they come up and ask for a photo with you. So, it’s just little things like that. Breaking barriers!
Nick: Amazing… of course.
Casie: Buy them a cricket set, and they’ll be your best friend.
Nick: Ahhhh, yes!! I used to be great at cricket… my highest score in cricket was 23… (laugh)
Casie: Well, I actually have a little badminton set in the back of my car, so every time we go out to the camp, we end up playing badminton with them.
Nick: That is so amazing. Just quickly, is there a way of people from overseas… like just for example, my parents listen to this, and they wanted to give something. Is there a way of that people from overseas can give.
Casie: Yeah, of course. If especially it’s somewhere we fly to, we can go there and pass the items on, and bring them back.
Nick: Okay, cool… quite simple really. To finish off, can you tell me in I guess a few short words your main aim for this charity ‘Little People Big Hearts’.
Casie: So, the main aim is just to break that barrier, break that divide…
Casie: ..and just recognise that everyone is human!
Nick: Yeah, amazing
Casie: And say thank you to the men that build ‘The City of Gold’.
Nick: It’s such a nice thing that you’re doing Casie, I’m sure they appreciate it, and I’m sure plenty of other people appreciate it as well. And if there’s more things we can do, the better.
Casie: Yeah, well it’s… as I say to everyone that that gives me the credit, it really is not me. It’s everyone else that makes it possible…
Casie: …because I couldn’t do it alone.
Casie: It’s other people that have ideas as well…
Casie: …Other people that give me gifts, other people that help support me, encourage me, and just make me realise… it’s a wonderful group of people, and it’s something nice to have that in Dubai.
Nick: Thank you Casie, for taking the time out today to chat about this amazing venture that you’re doing. It’s a real pleasure.