Flowers and smiles
Karen Ann Monsy
Filed on October 28, 2011
October sets in and so does the drive to spread awareness for breast cancer all over the world. Pink is everywhere — on ads, on goods, in
window displays and in your head… What’s interesting is the way everything peaks to almost fever pitch during this time — only to ebb and even, completely die out by the month end. We speak to one campaign group that’s making the effort to go places with their initiative all year round instead.
Emirati businesswoman Maryam Al Noori comes from a family that has “always been very compassionate towards people in need”. The managing director of a Dubai-based floral boutique called Worood, she credits being inculcated with the values of sharing, love and hope as the reason for wanting to reach out somehow — anyhow — to those going through tough times.
“Worood has been involved with different CSR activities over the years and we are dedicated to many causes that touch people who are in need of support in various forms,” says Maryam. “Be it children, women, men or senior citizens, we try and be there when they need it most.”
This year, however, Maryam says they wanted to start something that would include external participation as “many situations find the need to have the support of society” these days. Noble intentions all right, but how did she plan to achieve it? As it turned out, being in the business of flowers gave her all she needed to get ready, set — and go.
“Being in the floral business, we are aware of the positive effects flowers have on people,” Maryam explains. “They bring brightness, colour and sweet aromas and are always one of the happiest things a person can receive.”
On that simple note the Pink Rose campaign began — an online campaign on Facebook and Twitter (in keeping with the “evolving times of communication”) that asks visitors to leave short messages of encouragement online to any of the causes that the campaign will be supporting throughout the year. These messages are then reproduced on elegant cards and attached to a pink rose, to be distributed at community programmes and events happening around town. “Many support groups approach us regularly for help in different forms and we try to do our best with them. Invariably though, it is the gift of flowers that each of them always remembers,” says Maryam.
“Generating awareness could mean saving more lives,” she explains. “We truly believe that every pink rose given away by us will be one more person receiving this important message. Since we began distributing our Pink Roses at different events, we have received some heart-warming messages that have been left by supporters on our Facebook page and we know that these messages will continue to spread hope and admiration.”
Personally, Maryam feels awareness levels are still “not very high” and that it is important to educate younger girls about breast cancer so they are not left out of the conversation. “The message needs to go deeper into smaller communities that live outside of city life where talking about breast cancer is taboo,” she points out. “Innovative and creative ways of taking this message is the only way to reach out to them. We know that our online campaign may not reach them, but our roses certainly will.”
She assures it is only coincidental that the campaign started in the month of October, when breast cancer awareness is symbolised by the colour pink. “A pink rose in general, however, symbolises admiration and appreciation which we would like to share with everyone who receives our pink roses.”
While their focus for this month is breast cancer awareness, this will change in time as they are also in talks with other support groups involved with children with special needs, abused women, addictions and old age. “Word has spread fast and we are being approached by other event organisers to be a part of their activities.” The team will be only too glad to support these activities, says Maryam, because all they want for now is to “make this campaign a positive ray of hope” for as many people as they can.