UAE's 1 Billion Meals initiative crosses the halfway mark

Special vehicle plate fetches record Dh23.3m in Abu Dhabi auction


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Wed 20 Apr 2022, 10:44 PM

Last updated: Thu 21 Apr 2022, 9:00 AM

The UAE’s ‘1 Billion Meals’ Ramadan initiative has crossed the halfway mark, powered by the ‘Most Noble Numbers’ charity auction which raised Dh111 million, taking the total contributions till date to more than Dh530 million.

Five unique vehicle plate numbers and 10 special mobile numbers went under the hammer in Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace on Wednesday night, raising Dh40.27 million in some 90 minutes. Separately, online auctions of 555 vehicle plates in the past days raised Dh71 million, bringing the total in Abu Dhabi to Dh111 million.

“In the online auctions going on for the past week, there were 555 plates, and they were sold for Dh71 million. And if you add what we have done tonight, ie, just over Dh40 million, that makes Dh111 million,” Johnny, the auctioneer, told Khaleej Times.

Before the start of the auction, the collections for the initiative had hit Dh420 million.

“So, we are now at about Dh532 million. So, we are over half-a-billion,” he added.

The highlight of the Abu Dhabi auctions, which coincided with Zayed Humanitarian Day, was the single-digit vehicle plate number 2 with code 2 going for a record Dh23.3 million.

It was followed by three double-digit plate numbers: 11 with code 2 (Dh5 million), 99 with code 1 (Dh5 million), 20 with code 2 (Dh4.25 million), and the three-digit plate number 999 with code 2 (Dh1.7 million). Also gone under the hammer were mobile numbers: du 0586222222 (Dh150,000), 0581111114 (Dh130,000), 0589999996 (Dh120,000), 0582444444 (Dh110,000), 0586666662 (91,000), and Etisalat 0547444444 (Dh160,000), 0567777722 (Dh100,000), 0542244444 (Dh55,000), 0547799999 (Dh52,000) and 0542422222 (Dh52,000).

Sara Al Nuaimi, director of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Office, was delighted with the response at the auction.

“I don’t think we have ever reached such a target in such a record time. I feel this year everyone wanted to take part. Whether it’s individuals, philanthropists, businessmen, government, public and private entities, everyone wanted to join forces to come and help us reach our goal. It’s heartwarming to see everyone coming together to support this cause launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,” she told Khaleej Times.

This was the second charity auction after the first round was held in Dubai on Saturday, collecting a total of Dh53 million. Prior to the auction, Mohammad Al Gergawi, Secretary-General of MBRGI, confirmed that the 1 Billion Meals initiative has collected Dh200 million in donations from 232,000 donors to date, in addition to the 220 million meals that were collected and distributed last year.

The ‘1 Billion Meals’ initiative organised by the MBRGI is the largest in the region to provide food support to the underprivileged and undernourished.

“We are targeting countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Africa, Asia; and some countries in Europe and South America. Mainly, we are focusing on the neighbouring countries like Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Somalia,” Al Nuaimi added.


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