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Sheikh Khalifa passes away: Humanitarian efforts of the great leader

UAE President had launched several initiatives and decisions to improve quality of life



by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sat 14 May 2022, 1:12 AM

The President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died on Friday, May 13, at the age of 73, the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs has announced.

Under Sheikh Khalifa’s leadership, the UAE sent out several deployments for humanitarian missions for countries in need. Moreover, he ensured that the citizens and residents in the UAE were well taken care of.

He was renowned for being a good listener, modest, generous and interested in his people, frequently conducting direct outreach through official missions and other occasions.

The President's humanitarian initiatives

Sheikh Khalifa launched several initiatives and decisions to improve the quality of life and achieve the nation's highest priorities and development goals.

Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation

In 2007, Sheikh Khalifa established Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation. Its vision is: pioneering initiatives for welfare, and its strategies are focused on health and education on domestic, regional and global scales.

Khalifa Award for Education

The Khalifa Award for Education, awarded around 2007, aims to promote education, encourage outstanding educators, and enhance innovative education practices. The award aimed to discover successful individuals and educational practices at local, regional, and Arab levels.

Establishing the debts settlement fund

Sheikh Khalifa ordered the establishment of the debt settlement fund on December 2, 2011, on the 40th National Day, with an initial allocation of Dh 10 billion, to help heavily indebted Emiratis settle their loans.

In 2014, the number of beneficiaries whose debts were dropped amounted to 3,482 citizens, and the total value of the waived amount touched Dh 1.5 billion. The beneficiaries fell under the category of 'committed to pay in addition to the cases of social security, health disability or special needs and several humanitarian causes.

Replacement of Emirati houses built before 1990

In 2012, Sheikh Khalifa ordered the rapid replacement of Emiratis' houses built before 1990 in the emirates of Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah. Some 12,500 such housing units met the replacement criteria and whose construction was estimated to be Dh 10 billion.

Home maintenance fund

In April 2015, the follow-up committee of the Initiatives of the UAE's President approved a list of 504 eligible citizens whose houses require maintenance or replacement. The projects include the maintenance of 105 houses at a total cost of Dh 40.1 million and the urgent replacement of 75 houses at Dh 63.9 million.

Science, technology and innovation

In 2015, Sheikh Khalifa allocated Dh 300 billion to the Emirates Science, Technology and Innovation Higher Policy, aiming to establish a solid future away from the fluctuations in the oil market for the coming generations.

2015: the year of Innovation

Under the direction of Sheikh Khalifa, the UAE Cabinet approved the designation of 2015 as the Year of Innovation. According to Sheikh Khalifa, the initiative aims to support federal government efforts, attract national skills, increase distinguished research, and boost efforts to build a national cadre capable of leading the UAE towards more progress, prosperity, and innovation.

Aqdar

The Khalifa Student Empowerment Program launched the Aqdar initiative (Arabic only) aims to promote literacy skills. The initiative is a part of the efforts to mark 2016 as a year for reading and embody the UAE's directives aimed at reinforcing its international stature in creativity and innovation.

2016: Year of Reading

Sheikh Khalifa gave directives that 2016 be the Year of Reading because reading is the basic skill for a new generation of scientists, intellectuals, researchers and innovators.

2017: The Year of Giving

Sheikh Khalifa declared 2017 as the Year of Giving in the country. The special year aimed to strengthen social responsibility in the private sector, promote a spirit of volunteering, and strengthen the concept of serving the nation to new generations.

2018: The Year of Zayed

Sheikh Khalifa declared 2018 the year of Zayed to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding President of the UAE. The year of Zayed will highlight the role of the late leader in establishing the UAE and his local, regional and international achievements.

2019 - The Year of Tolerance

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed declared 2019 the Year of Tolerance. The announcement highlights the UAE as a global capital for tolerance and its approach, since its establishment, to be a bridge of communication between peoples of different cultures in a respectful environment that rejects extremism and emphasizes the acceptance of the other.

Emirates Polio campaign

The Emirates Polio Campaign for polio eradication was made under the directives of Sheikh Khalifa in support of health-care programmes in Pakistan to bring epidemics under control and deflect the health hazards to the children in the affected areas.

The effort is part of the UAE Government's 2013 pledge of Dh 440 million to support global efforts to put the world over the finish line for polio eradication by 2018, focusing on Pakistan, which has one of the world's highest rates of polio infection.

Through the Emirates Polio campaign, the UAE has provided 116,177,794 million polio vaccines for Pakistani children aged under five from January 2014 to the end of May 2016.

The Emirates Polio Campaign supports the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) of WHO's General Assembly for eradicating polio by 2018 and the Pakistani Government's National Emergency Action Plan to wipe out the poliovirus.

Partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2011, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, committed $100 million ($50 million each) to the purchase and delivery of vital vaccines to prevent diseases and save the lives of Afghani and Pakistani children.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

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