A year for Zayed's legacy
Government departments carried out many initiatives to mark the Year of Zayed.
As the year 2018, titled the Year of Zayed to honour the UAE's founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, draws to a close, we celebrate and take a look back at some of the unique activities undertook by some government organisations to honour Sheikh Zayed's legacy. This included a series of initiatives and events aimed at promoting the causes that Sheikh Zayed most espoused - tolerance, progression, environmentalism and charity.
Dubai Health Authority
Reinforcing all the values and principles embodied by Sheikh Zayed, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) launched the Year of Zayed Insurance Card project in collaboration with private sector insurers. The authority said it would distribute 100 health insurance cards among expatriates with financial constraints every year as part of its Year of Zayed celebrations.
In another initiative, more than 200 children with congenital heart abnormalities received free surgery through the Nabadat programme that was launched by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Charity and Humanitarian Establishment in collaboration with DHA. The authority also launched a scientific research competition to recognise talent in the medical field. The competition aimed at celebrating the founding father's legacy and his pivotal role in the development of the health sector in the UAE and beyond. It also aimed to encourage, foster and promote medical research.
The authority also collaborated with the Dar Al Ber Society and the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department to build 100 wells in areas where communities suffer from a lack of access to clean, safe water. The five countries selected are India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Sudan and Senegal. In the field of arts, the DHA also collaborated with the UAE National Archives and displayed rare photos of Sheikh Zayed at different locations in Dubai.
Zayed's values in schools
Preaching Sheikh Zayed's values to students, over 300 teachers from more than 95 schools in Dubai came together at an event hosted by Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to commemorate the Year of Zayed. The sessions covered the themes of wisdom, respect, sustainability and human development.
Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director-general of the KHDA, said: "The diversity of Dubai's education sector gives us a chance to inspire a young generation of learners by imparting teachings from the life of Sheikh Zayed. This event is unique as it brings together the school community and teachers with a goal to learn from the wisdom of a great leader."
Teachers exchanged views and discussed ideas to draw inspiration from the life of Sheikh Zayed and create new ways of learning to extend life-lessons into classroom settings.
The KHDA also organised a 'Zayed Torch relay' that saw over 1,000 school students from more than 80 private schools in Dubai unite to celebrate the UAE sports day. The 15-kilometre relay started at Etihad Museum and teams exchanged the torch at various stations on Jumeirah Beach Road. The relay culminated in a flame-lighting ceremony to remember Sheikh Zayed.
Dar Al Ber Society
The Year of Zayed saw a number of events and initiatives by the Dar Al Ber Society (Dabs), aimed at helping people in need and spreading happiness among the people of the UAE.
"Thousands of people, especially the underprivileged section of the society and the people with special needs, benefitted from various charitable initiatives undertaken by the Dar Al Ber Society for Year of Zayed," said Dr Hisham Al Zahrani, deputy director, social sector, Dabs.
Dabs offered aid worth hundreds of millions of dirhams to thousands of people across the world during the year. Some of the initiatives undertaken by Social Services Sector of Dabs include, Zayed Happiness Caravan, ChariTree: Plant For a Cause, Happiness Market, Friday Market and Iftar and Eidiya Distribution.
Zayed Happiness Caravan, with a tagline of "because everyone deserves to be happy", distributed food and gifts worth over Dh3 million since its launch in May 2018. Many events were organised where over 50,000 people including labourers, people with special needs and other underprivileged received gifts. One such event, which was organised for the labourers working for the Dubai Municipality, saw over 750 workers having a Pizza party along with gifts such as soap, shampoos, creams, etc.
ChariTree: Plant For a Cause saw over 30,000 people participating in the initiative held at various schools and offices. In one of such events, over 1,000 staff of the Dubai Media Corporation purchased plants to raise funds for Dabs.
Happiness Market and The Friday market, two of the charity markets organised by Dabs to raise funds for its charitable activities, continued its successful operation during the Year of Zayed.
The Friday Market was organised at Bur Dubai during weekends and other public holidays, while the Happiness Market was held every Friday at Zaabeel Park. The funds collected through the rent of the stalls at the market was used by Dabs to fund some of its charitable activities. In addition to the funds generated, the market was used by Dabs to provide income-generating opportunity to some of the underprivileged families. Over 1,000 underprivileged families have benefited from these markets. Also, over 20,000 people received free medical checkups at the charity markets during Year of Zayed.
Dabs also distributed over 350,000 Iftar meals at various locations all over UAE to the underprivileged section of the society. Also, Eidiya gifts were distributed to over 2,500 people in UAE.
Marking the centennial of Sheikh Zayed and his legacy of generosity, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) hosted its 100th open auction for number plates, allocating the proceeds of six distinguished numbers for charity.
The number plates, representing key milestones in the life of Sheikh Zayed bearing code Z, fetched Dh1.723 million at the auction that generated a total of Dh20 million.
The auction was among a series of 20 initiatives launched by the RTA to mark the Year of Zayed.
Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA, said that the initiatives comprised three key drivers: Landmark achievements of Sheikh Zayed, commemorating Sheikh Zayed anniversary and boosting the national identity.
A temporary mobile exhibition on the RTA's premises spotlighted the key achievements of Sheikh Zayed. The initiatives also included supporting the improvement of the infrastructure of developing countries in collaboration with the International Humanitarian City and broadening the scope of the Tamkeen initiative to include other emirates.
Upgrading the Meals on Wheels to expand its benefit to other events (Eid, Back to School), launching a special edition of Nol card, and decorating customer service centres with portraits and sayings of Sheikh Zayed and distribution of notebooks bearing Sheikh Zayed's images in various schools were some other initiatives.
Dubai Ladies Club
The Dubai Ladies Club hosted its fifth and largest annual charity fashion exhibition, titled Designs of Hope to mark the Year of Zayed. The event was held to support Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative's 'teacher' campaign, launched last year to support children's education, particularly of girls, in developing countries.
The exhibition was hosted in partnership with social enterprise, 'Brides do Good', and featured over 100 donated luxury brand and pre-loved wedding dresses from bridal designers, retailers, influencers and public, to be sold at a 50 to 75 per cent markdown from original retail prices. The club also received an influx of generous donations in support of the noble cause.
Al Manal Humanitarian initiative launched a campaign titled 'Unboxing Kindness' at the Dubai Ladies Club to donate, pack and distribute over 2,000 care boxes to working ladies in labour accommodations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. The campaign was done in collaboration with Emirates Red Crescent.
The 'Unboxing Kindness' campaign went beyond collecting donations, as it invited people to not only donate care box items but also volunteer to pack the boxes and distribute them to the working ladies.