Mohammed donates Dh1.7b to Dubai Cares

DUBAI — His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday announced a personal contribution of Dh1.7 billion, equivalent to the funds raised by the Dubai Cares campaign so far, bringing the total amount to over Dh3.4 billion.

By Preeti Kannan (Our staff reporter)

Published: Mon 26 Nov 2007, 9:17 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:40 AM

At the closing ceremony of the Dubai Cares campaign at Madinat Jumeirah yesterday, Shaikh Mohammed said, “I am a leader and I lead.” He went on to explain that he didn’t contribute to the fund earlier as he was waiting for the campaign to end so as “to equal the budget”.

The funds raised by the eight-week campaign will be utilised to provide primary education to one million children in poor countries across the world. Shaikh Mohammed urged the United Nations to follow Dubai’s model of charity work to achieve its Millennium Development Goals of providing universal primary education by 2015.

Speaking (in both English and Arabic) on the success of the charity drive, Shaikh Mohammed acknowledged the spirit of compassion displayed by people in Dubai and thanked students, volunteers, business people, organisers and members of various cultural and religious communities for their participation.

He observed that the campaign underlined the priority each contributor had placed on education as an essential prerequisite to help people become self-reliant and empower them to help themselves, their families and communities. He said this humanitarian achievement reflected the depth of “our spirit of giving and demonstrates the genuine desire of donors to help their brothers and sisters, regardless of religion, colour or creed.”

Shaikh Mohammed added: “This achievement also illustrates that a large number of companies and business people in Dubai are highly conscious of their social responsibility, and are constantly looking for ways to give back to the society which has given them the success they now enjoy.”

Lauding the gesture of a young Emarati couple, Yousuf Yaqoub and his bride, who donated their wedding party expenses of Dh150,000 to the initiative, Shaikh Mohammed said, “This couple has made me feel proud and I am confident their values represent the spirit of a large number of the Emarati youth.”

Elaborating on the campaign’s focus he said, “We concentrated on education as it is the most important thing. The campaign will feed and educate students so that they can benefit and contribute to their communities.”

He also recalled how his sons and daughters had come back with mixed feelings after visiting different countries. They had toured several impoverished countries to gain first-hand information and met with government officials and students to personally review their requirements. The Comoros Islands, Yemen, Djibouti, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chad and Sudan were some of the countries that the Dubai Cares flag travelled to.

Shaikh Mohammed also announced that he had directed Dubai Cares officials to prioritise voluntary work as the primary agenda of next year’s campaign. He said, “We now need to put in place a mechanism for volunteers. We need to create an organised body to focus on projects that can generate sustainable resources to create a positive impact on the ground.”

Based on a long-term strategy of investing in community-based education programmes, Dubai Cares will use the donations to build and renovate schools, train teachers, provide teaching materials, sport and recreation equipment, offer scholarships, organise school feeding programmes and encourage physical education in some of the poorest countries in the world.

The Dubai Cares campaign was launched by Shaikh Mohammed on September 19 to channel Dubai’s philanthropic efforts towards education in poor countries around the world.

When Mohammed used to go hungry to feed horse

By a staff reporter

DUBAI — At the Dubai Cares closing ceremony yesterday, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recalled a childhood incident, which taught him about hunger.

Speaking extempore, he explained how as a young child, he used to walk to school and carry his lunch, wrapped in paper. Since his food tasted good, he would share it with his horse and would go hungry during lunch. One day, his mother noticed this and started giving him extra food to share with his horse.

Touching on the Arab people’s spirit of giving, he remembered how in the past men would fight with swords and at the end of the day, a woman would give water to the wounded men. Every time she approached a man, he would refuse to drink the water saying the man lying next to him was wounded more and would request her to pay attention to him first. Each man would say the same and by the time she reached the first man again, he would be be dead. This, Shaikh Mohammed, said highlighted the Arab spirit of giving.

In the end, he joked that he had remembered to say everything and had instead forgotten to read the actual text of his speech.

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