JEDDAH: NomuHub is a social enterprise that, according to its co-founder Omar Aljuhani, acts as a global network to provide an environment for like-minded people to meet and volunteer while enjoying a “real” travel experience.
Aljuhani says that it aims to change the way people travel to new destinations and their perception about giving, through collaboration with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to provide volunteering opportunities for young professionals.
While studying for his bachelor’s degree at the University of Manchester, it was a requirement under the university’s leadership program (Manchester Leadership Program — MLP) to complete 40 or 60 hours of approved volunteering throughout the academic year.
That gave Omar and his business partner Muatasam Alaulaqi the opportunity to explore volunteering through engagement in real-life experience. Consequently, they decided to take a break, “a gap year,” after they finished their degree to volunteer and explore the world by helping at refugee camps and teaching English and building classrooms. Eventually, that led to the materialization of the idea to create NomuHub in their own society.
NomuHub was founded during the summer of 2017 as an Instagram account with SR500 Instagram ads calling for participants to join their summer volunteering trip while enjoying the beautiful island of Zanzibar in Tanzania.
Omar said that more than 100 volunteers joined NomuHub in their first trip to Zanzibar and participated in a community development project to build an extra classroom that could accommodate 50 students. He said: “I started to feel that participants are experiencing that same impact I felt 7 years ago during my volunteering activities,” which was the main reason behind the desire to bring this idea back to Saudi Arabia.
Since then, NomuHub has successfully arranged and completed 25 weeks of volunteering while hosting more than 350 volunteers from all over the region, impacting more than 5,000 people in Zanzibar.
During its first year, NomuHub helped to build a classroom, renovated seven more, organized a trip for the Giving Ambassadors Program for the Ministry of Education — UAE, hosted 25 students to volunteer to fix a hospital in Zanzibar and organized a medical volunteer trip for the Arabian Gulf University (AGU) to scan patients and to shadow doctors among the people of Zanzibar.
NomuHub is targeting young professionals between 25-30 years old who are interested in both traveling and volunteering. He said that the trips are packaged for one week as a standard and volunteers have the option to decide the duration of their trip before filling the application.
Through NomuHub’s website, volunteers get straightforward explanations on how the money is spent: accommodation, donation, building (raw materials and labor costs), food, transportation, organizational costs and profit.
“We see ourselves as a social enterprise, and we believe it’s possible to leave an impact and make a difference while running a profitable independent business,” Omar said.
NomuHub is focusing on promoting its vision “to travel with a purpose” among young professionals, providing them with the channels to make tangible changes through offering volunteering packages that can provide sustainable solutions for underprivileged communities.
Currently, NomuHub has three main themes of focus: Sustainability (e.g. agriculture and waste management), education (e.g. construction/renovation of underdeveloped schools) and medical (e.g. health care services and awareness).
NomuHub is preparing a “pioneer program” to start by the end of the year, which also provides the opportunity to travel and explore new environments and pursue business and personal aspirations at the same time as promoting social entrepreneurship.
Health and security are the major concerns among volunteers and interested participants.
“We perform a detailed, comprehensive analysis that covers both health and security issues with respect to the targeted destination,” Omar said. “We are always sure that local NGOs are inline with our visit to help us facilitate our activities locally.”
NomuHub has announced its trip calendar, detailing a four-week trip to Zanzibar by the end of June and a two-week trip to Kerala in India.
Omar said that NomuHub aims to renovate four classrooms in Kerala this year and to help introduce the locals to new teaching methods through expert volunteers.
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