Ramadan in UAE: Giving back is key, say donors of '1 Billion Meals' campaign

Nearly a billion people around the globe cannot afford to sustain a healthy life, making it the responsibility of those blessed with wealth to contribute, they add

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Mohamed A. Al Ansari
Mohamed A. Al Ansari

Nandini Sircar

Published: Sun 9 Apr 2023, 6:33 PM

Last updated: Sun 9 Apr 2023, 9:35 PM

Nearly a billion people, including children, currently live in scarcity in this ‘world of plenty’, note some of the top donors of the ‘One Billion Meals' campaign, as some companies in the UAE have donated up to Dh50 million to the drive.

As the UAE is poised to hit its one billionth meal in record time, Khaleej Times catches up with some of the key donors of the campaign who talk about the inspiration behind their significant charitable initiatives.

PNC Menon, Chairman and Founder of Sobha Group, says, “Numerous people across the globe cannot afford nutritious food to sustain even a healthy life, causing various health deficiencies and more. Therefore, it is our responsibility, especially [those] who have been blessed with wealth, to contribute to this noble cause of reducing world hunger and aiding poor nations and people in need.

PNC Menon
PNC Menon

I believe that everyone plays a significant role in preventing the prevalent global food crisis. This belief has strengthened my commitment to philanthropy and humanitarian causes.”

He adds, “Sobha Realty has always regarded the fulfilment of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a key priority. As part of our commitment to humanitarian causes, we have donated Dh50 million towards the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ campaign launched by Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Initiatives (MBRGI). This donation is geared towards the establishment of an endowment fund for sustainable food provision, aimed at alleviating hunger and food insecurity across the globe.”

They note that the UAE has been raising the bar in philanthropy, with several humanitarian efforts being undertaken across the country under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“With several effective policies and strategies in place, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum constantly promotes a culture of giving, [and] raising awareness regarding the noble values of charity. When it comes to philanthropy and noble causes, the country has embarked on several social, charitable, and developmental endeavours, with the primary objective of providing any form of assistance to the needy and eradicating global crises such as poverty and starvation,” adds Menon.

Similarly, other big corporate figures in the country also shed light on how charitable initiatives should be part of a company’s social, developmental, and humanitarian duties.

Mohamed A. Al Ansari, Chairman of Al Ansari Exchange, says, “These initiatives additionally serve to fortify the bonds that hold a community together and promote solidarity. As a result, we are honoured to promote the endeavours of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives.

As part of our commitment to our humanitarian and social responsibilities and our desire to participate in charitable efforts launched by the UAE Government, our donation supported the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ initiative, which embodies Emirati values such as generosity, brotherhood and solidarity.”

He adds, “We announced the contribution of Dh50 million over the course of five years to support the humanitarian efforts launched by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives. The UAE leadership has consistently supported underprivileged communities by launching humanitarian initiatives, which is a reflection of the nation's values of generosity and giving.

The ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ campaign, which coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, aims to develop long-term solutions to combat hunger, eliminate its causes, and restrict its effects by using targeted strategies to effectively support vulnerable groups.”

Therefore, business heads highlight, these charitable endeavours in the UAE receive widespread support from all groups, as evidence of the profound community spirit among its residents.

The Azizi group has also donated another Dh50 million to this important initiative.

Farhad Azizi, CEO, Azizi Developments says, “This campaign is an important and highly impactful social movement that was launched in light of the holy month of Ramadan, which is marked by togetherness and the spirit of giving and is driven by the wise leadership and humanitarian devotion of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Farhad Azizi
Farhad Azizi

In this context, our founder and chairman, Mr Mirwais Azizi, sees this initiative as the single most powerful one of its kind, in the realm of curbing global hunger.

“With over 800 million people around the world suffering from undernourishment, it is up to each and every one of us to contribute to securing a brighter future in which all of humanity has access to vital, healthy nutrition.

We will stand steadfast with this cause for years to come, and with the notion in mind that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, we encourage participation to ensure a happier, healthier tomorrow for those in need.”


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