Campaign to raise funds to get Iraq's kids back to school

DUBAI - Dubai Aid City (DAC), Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Foundation, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and charity foundations will launch a fund-raising campaign under the title "Getting Iraqi Children Back to School" from June 25 to August 31.

By (By a staff reporter)

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Published: Tue 22 Jun 2004, 10:04 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:02 PM

This was announced on Monday by Barbara Casteck, Head of Dubai Aid City, at a Press conference held in the presence of Stefan Toma, UNICEF Gulf Area Office representative. Ms. Castek pointed out that the campaign is exclusively dedicated to children in Iraq who have suffered long and hard from the unceasing damage of three consecutive wars, heightened by the economic sanctions enforced on them by the United Nations.

"The campaign has already been backed by several government departments as well as private establishments across the country including the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai Duty Free (DDF)," she said.

The organisers of the campaign are optimistic and hope to collect about Dh110 million for furnishing about 15,000 Iraqi elementary schools with necessary educational material, and rebuilding 300 destroyed or broken down schools that will benefit over 186,000 students.

Donations will be collected for this campaign through distribution of informative flyers at three to five stars hotels which will give all hotel guests the opportunity to donate a trivial amount of five dirhams or more while checking out.

Ms. Castek said that the idea of organising such campaigns emanates from the DAC's long term vision in acting as the catalyst for the international organisations providing services and facilities that facilitate the operations of such agencies at this part of the world. "Women and children are the largest category that have suffered from the war in Iraq, therefore, there was need to organise such a huge campaign," she noted.

Mr Toma said, "The UAE people can take great pride in the remarkable progress made in improving the situation of children and women. For example, the under five mortality rate is now below nine per 1,000 live births (down from 222 in 1960), the universal child immunisation target of 80 per cent coverage has been surpassed, the net primary school enrolment rate for both girls and boys is over 80 per cent, while the adult literacy rate for both men and women is over 90 per cent."

"We are gathered today to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Foundation, DAC, and UNICEF, for the purpose of launching this noble campaign," Mr Toma pointed out.

"I'm sure you will all agree that there can be no wiser investment in Iraq and no greater return than educating Iraq's children, both girls and boys. How fully they develop is a key determinant not only of their future, but also of the entire future of their country," he added.

Iraq had achieved near universal primary enrolment by 1980s and was widely regarded as possessing one of the best education systems in the Middle East. The damage assessment conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education after the war showed that overall some 80 per cent of schools (about 3,150) required significant rehabilitation rebuilt.

In addition, at least 4,500 new schools are required to meet the growth in enrolment. Last July, school attendance was estimated at 60 per cent on average, which is far below per-war levels. Thus, the purpose of this campaign is to provide essential teaching and learning materials for approximately 186,000 students in about 15,500 primary and intermediate schools, as well as ensure comprehensive rehabilitation of at least 300 schools.

"We are equally grateful for the support and involvement of the Department of Tourism and Commercial Marketing, the Hotel Group, Car Rental Group, Emirates Group, and the Gold and Jewellery Group in the campaign," Mr Toma said.

The UNICEF represents the latest addition to the DAC at the Jebel Ali Free Zone, where it has just started the construction of a 4,000 square metres warehousing facility dedicated for storage of various aid supplies comprising of nutrition, medications and educational material which are to be shipped out to the countries where their children are in need of humanitarian assistance.


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