How Dubai charities helped world fight Covid challenges in 2020

Team KT/Dubai
Filed on May 3, 2021
Picture retrieved from @HHShkMohd/Twitter

Noor Dubai continued its work of providing eyecare to those most in need, providing free surgeries and reaching thousands of people around the world.

As the world reeled under the unprecedented challenges wrought by the pandemic, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Initiatives (MBRGI) stepped in to spread hope in every way possible — from sending urgent relief to treating the sick, safeguarding kids’ education, boosting innovation, and empowering communities.

The MBRGI’s annual report, released on Monday, reflected how the office exerted every effort to send help where help is needed the most. In 2020, it rolled out massive humanitarian aid and relief projects that reached 34.8 million people — nearly doubling its 17 million beneficiaries the previous year.

Under the MBRGI’s humanitarian aid and relief pillar were Dh382 million worth of projects, which were run by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Humanitarian and Charity Establishment (MBRCH), the International Humanitarian City, the UAE Food Bank, the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia UAE), and the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Centre for Endowment Consultancy.

“The year 2020 was an unprecedented challenge due to the coronavirus outbreak, and that’s exactly why our efforts serve the needy and make a real difference in people’s lives. The MBRCH and our teams endeavoured to accelerate operations to provide the necessary healthcare, ensure the continuity of education and the availability of water, safe housing and warm living conditions to more than 2.1 million people from low-income communities in Arab, Asian and African countries,” said Ibrahim Bu Melha, deputy chairman of the Board of Trustees of the MBRCH.

The MBRCH’s programmes and initiatives reached 2.1 million people across Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Senegal, Uganda, and Ghana in 2020.

Among the most notable MBRGI projects in 2020 was the 10 Million Meals campaign, the local version of the ongoing 100 Million Meals drive. Launched in Ramadan last year, it provided 15.3 million meals to Covid-19-hit individuals and families across the UAE, with the help of 130,000 donors and 1,000 volunteers.

With the emergence of one of the worst healthcare crisis of this generation, the MBRGI’s healthcare arm stepped up efforts not only to fight the pandemic but also to keep an eye on future outbreaks.

Its ‘healthcare and disease control programmes and projects’ — led by Al Jalila Foundation and Noor Dubai amounted to Dh49.6 million in 2020, benefitting 38,000 people.

Al Jalila Foundation witnessed the launch of the Dh300-million Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, the first independent biomedical research centre in the UAE. Responding the urgent need for in-depth research into biomedicine, preventive medicine and epidemiology, it is establishing advanced and tech-driven research tools to proactively monitor potential outbreaks.

The foundation also continued its mission of funding the treatment of patients in need, especially those with life-threatening diseases.

Noor Dubai continued its work of providing eyecare to those most in need, providing free surgeries and reaching thousands of people around the world.

Education was another significant sector that the MBRGI poured its investments into. Learning initiatives worth Dh265 million reached 45.5 million people in 2020.

The MBRGI’s ‘spreading education and knowledge’ pillar comprised: Dubai Cares, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), the Knowledge Summit, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Arabic Language Award, the Arab Reading Challenge, the Madrasa e-Learning Platform, and the Digital School.

In response to the pandemic that forcibly and radically shifted learning patterns, MBRGI launched the first comprehensive Digital School in the Arab region, as a model for the future of digital education that integrates knowledge and technology into a contemporary educational curriculum powered by cutting-edge technologies and artificial intelligence. It aims to provide quality education to students wherever they are in the world and promote self-learning in flexible and smart ways.

The ‘innovation and entrepreneurship’ pillar received the highest investments allocated by the MBRGI in 2020, with the volume of spending on various initiatives and projects reaching Dh440 million, from which 1.3 million people benefitted.

These innovation projects includef the Museum of the Future, the One Million Arab Coders initiative, the Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME), the Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award.

The year 2020 saw the installation of the final piece on the façade of the Museum of the Future, an iconic landmark which sits at the bustling heart of Dubai. Once complete, it will act as an incubator for innovations and emerging technologies.

Spending on ‘empowering communities’ initiatives and programmes totalled Dh79.5 million in 2020, benefitting 1.1 million people worldwide.

This pillar comprises: the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, the International Institute for Tolerance, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Tolerance Award, the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, the Arab Media Forum, the Arab Journalism Award, Arab Social Media Influencers Summit and Award, Dubai International Sports Conference, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, Arab Strategy Forum, Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Leadership Development, and the Arab Hope Makers initiative.

Mona Ghanem Al Marri, chairperson of Arab Media Forum’s Organising Committee and Secretary-General of the Arab Journalism Award, said: “Despite the unfavourable circumstances that resulted from the global outbreak of the coronavirus, we were committed to see the Arab Media Forum play its role — the largest media convention in the Middle East region — and the same with the Arab Journalism Award — the most prominent celebration of excellence in journalism.

“In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and his belief in the role of media in drawing the future of communities, we were keen to aide media overcome the challenges and reach new heights in excellence.”

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