Women’s Guild of Oman’s annual Crystal Ball has plans to raise an impressive OMR15,000 which it will donate to the Oman Cancer Association (OCA) to help fund Dar Al Hannan, a home for sick children from outside of Muscat and their families to use when they need medical treatment.
The Crystal Ball, now in its 11th year, is the biggest event organised each year by the Women’s Guild of Oman (WGO) to raise money for local charities. The ball, which is a masquerade theme this year, will be held at the Shangri-La on Friday and prior to the dancing, a cheque will be presented to the OCA.
“We are expecting to raise something in the region of OMR15,000 for Oman Cancer Association purely through the generosity of our sponsors and through ticket sales, which is fabulous. That’s pretty much more than double from last year,” said WGO president Susan Flower.
She said there are more sponsors this year, including petroleum companies which haven’t come on board before, and as the WGO grows, it can attract new donors, which has resulted in more funds.
Each year the WGO chooses different charities to raise money for because one of its aims, in addition to being an organisation for networking and friendship, is to give back to Oman. Most of the WGO members are expatriates and they want to contribute to the society that has welcomed them and made them feel at home, Flower explained.
This year the OCA’s Dar Al Hannan was selected as the recipient. Dar Al Hannan was started three years ago when Yuthar Al Rawahy, founder and chairperson of the OCA, noticed a need for a free home for families from outside of town whose children needed to be in Muscat for medical treatments.
Often medical appointments and follow-up visits were missed because the fathers, who were usually the ones to bring the children to Muscat, couldn’t afford to take time off work and pay for hotels.
Al Rawahy knew there were homes near hospitals in Canada and the USA where families could stay for free as their children got their medical care, so decided to import the idea to Oman.
“We rented two homes and now we can accommodate 16 families, with the father, the mother, the sick child, and a baby in one room. The homes are very near the Royal Hospital and we shuttle the patients up and down, also to the (Sultan Qaboos University Hospital),” Al Rawahy explained.
Rent costs OMR30,000 a year for Dar Al Hannan, and it costs OMR105,000 a year to run. It is funded by donations, so the support of the WGO is hugely important. Al Rawahy said the WGO has always been supportive, which she really appreciates.
Flower said Dar Al Hannan was selected because it is a different initiative and one where the positive results can immediately be seen, and because the OCA does a lot of work promoting awareness about early prevention and detection for cancer.
“One of the other things that attracted us to the OCA and Dar Al Hannan is Yuthar’s passion and enthusiasm for it,” added Flower.
The Crystal Ball’s major sponsors this year include Bahwan Group, BP, Renaissance Services SAOG, Bank Muscat, HSBC, MHD, OHI, Shell, Gloria Jeans, Carillion, Mevents, Patchi and Bateel. The WGO also acknowledges Oman Air, Shangri-la, Al Bustan Palace Hotel and the Royal Air Force of Oman for their generous contribution to the Top Tier Raffle.