Aussies visit Dubai Labor Camps
October 10, 2014
Some of Australia's Test cricketers have been given a rare and unique insight into the lives of the thousands of migrant workers who have transformed the United Arab Emirates from a desert into a booming, modern metropolis.
Australian captain Michael Clarke and teammates Peter Siddle, Chris Rogers, Alex Doolan, Stephen O’Keefe and Ben Hilfenhaus made an early morning visit to one of the labour camps on the outskirts of Dubai.
The cricket-made workers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were delighted at the visit on their one day of relaxation per week.
These men work long hours and endure extreme heat in relative isolation as a means of providing for their families back home.
Cricket Australia's community program, Cricket Cares, is backing the Adopt-a-Camp initiative, which has been working with up to 50,000 labourers in labour camps for eight years. It runs important support services such as free English classes, specialist medical, optical and dental treatment, hygiene workshops and counselling for those struggling to cope with being separated from their families for long periods of time.
Fast-bowler Siddle, who is bidding to be recalled to the Test XI after missing out in Australia's last start in Cape Town in March, said the visit offered a new perspective for the players.
"As cricketers we’re in a privileged position whereby we get to travel the world and experience different counties and cultures," said Siddle.
"Today’s experience certainly gave us a different perspective on the buildings that make Dubai such an amazing city.
"Some of the sacrifices that these men make to provide for their families are quite extraordinary and it certainly puts our own day-to-day challenges into perspective.
"Given that so many workers are from cricket-loving countries, it was nice to be able to spend time with them and support the great work of the Adopt-A-Camp program."