By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: Helping the community is a noble endeavor that has the power to bring about positive change. Yousef Al-Omran, known as Bu Jarrah, believes participating in community initiatives and supporting social causes by dedicating his time, skills and resources will contribute to making Kuwait better. “Small change will change the country; there are numerous ways to make a difference and create a collective impact that fosters a stronger and more harmonious country. One individual can impact society. Small things count,” he told Kuwait Times.
Bu Jarrah’s voluntary initiatives have gone viral on social media, attracting citizens and residents to get more involved in the community. “The idea started when I saw the number of complaints on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. I found that there was a negative vibe, and was affected by the amount of negative thoughts, making me depressed. People were complaining and recording the negatives of Kuwait for views, which is not acceptable,” he said.
The idea of “change” came to Bu Jarrah four years ago, but actual implementation began in February, when he saw a flag of Kuwait in faded colors on a bridge in Mahboula. “The people of Kuwait are tired and hopeless. They have been waiting for change for years, and there was no hope. When they saw a simple citizen like me who wanted to change the thinking of a society to not complain, but be the cause of change and be positive — that attracted them. I am convinced that one person can influence 10 people, and 10 can influence over 100, and the 100 can impact the entire population,” he explained.
The community has interacted well with Bu Jarrah’s initiatives. “I do not want to tarnish the image of Kuwait or the government, and all activities are carried out with permits. This is what I did with the first initiative to repaint the flag of Kuwait on the bridge. I obtained a permit from the municipality and the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources, while the interior ministry provided a police patrol,” he said.
Bu Jarrah indicated he started his initiative individually, but after he uploaded the video of repainting the flag on National Day, there was great interaction from the Kuwaiti people. In his next initiative, more than 500 volunteers — elderly, children and people with disabilities — joined and supported him. “There were even private companies on the waitlist, waiting for my ideas to contribute to implement them on the ground,” he told Kuwait Times.
In his latest initiative to fill potholes, nearly 1,000 people came at midnight to help. Bu Jarrah had not expected this much effort by citizens and residents from all segments of society, seeking to help and serve Kuwait. “A company from the private sector even provided us with high-quality materials to help fill the potholes with the best materials. There is great hope that Kuwait will be the most beautiful country,” he said. “Filling potholes is one of the initiatives that people interacted with the most, because it is one of the issues that they are most affected by. The number of views of the video reached 1.2 million on TikTok and 300,000 on Instagram,” he added.
In another initiative, Bu Jarrah tore down a 10-year-old bus station and built a new one for riders. “I will work on establishing an institution to coordinate and secure a complete team. I am currently working with my family, where my mother does the praying part for luck, my brothers for the administration, my father for logistics and my sisters to help distribute water during the initiatives,” he said.
“I will organize fun and competitive initiatives in the future. I will work on championships between residents of various areas to make them compete in beautifying their area with a given budget, to deliver a message that everyone can change their surroundings. I will launch this initiative in winter,” he revealed.
Bu Jarrah called on people to change rather than complain, because Kuwait deserves it. “The change starts with you. With a simple act like removing the trash off the road, a child may see this and do the same. People should experience the pleasure of giving. The pleasure of achievement can replace depression with inner peace. We must deliver a positive message to the young generation to give and change,” he concluded.