UAE: Water conservation, accessibility always a priority, Zayed Sustainability Award winners say

'It is a matter of pride for us,' said Sumaiya, representing her school managed by Kashmir Orphan Relief Trust


SM Ayaz Zakir

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Published: Sun 3 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

A project for setting up water filtration plants and sensor taps to minimise water wastage and organic farming at a school in Pakistan was awarded the esteemed Zayed Sustainability Prize worth $100,000, securing the title of the top Global School in South Asia.

The announcement took place during the UN climate conference in Dubai on Friday. The school, managed by the Kashmir Orphan Relief Trust (KORT), faced stiff competition, contending for the prize alongside two other finalists from India and Bangladesh.

Award from the President

“The awards were something we never imagined. Our focus is to conserve water and make drinking water available to scarce places,” said Sumaiya Bibi, who received the Zayed Sustainability award from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.”

“It is a matter of pride for us,” said Sumaiya, representing her school managed by Kashmir Orphan Relief Trust (KORT).

Kinzal Bibi, another student expressed her astonishment at winning the esteemed award. “We are very passionate about providing nutritious food to children at the orphanage. We believe in growing all our fruits and vegetables organically,” Kinzal said, showing a commitment to sustainable practices.


The students said that they had been working on project addressing the impending water crisis in Pakistan by setting up water filtration plants and sensor taps in their school to minimise water wastage. “We will now be going much further with our practices and efforts to provide drinking water facilities,” said Kinzal.

Home for quake victims

KORT School and College was established in 2016. However, the trust was established soon after the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir. The trust has been taking care of hundreds of students since then.

Sumaiya and Kinzal are among many students who lost their parents during the calamity in 2005.

Mohammed Akhtar, the founder of KORT and a businessman based in the UK, said that he started the trust for the children who lost their parents during their earthquake. “But soon we began to receive abandoned children. I promised myself to take care of every abandoned child,” said Akhtar.

“There are over 500 children. They are like my family, and I treat all of them very dear to my heart. They address me as 'Papa',” said Akhtar, emphasising the familial bond he shares with the children.

Mentioning the winnings from the award, Akhtar said: “The prize money would be utilised for clean water and organic farming projects in rural areas,”

The Zayed Sustainability Prize took place at Al Wasl Plaza, Expo City during COP 28 in Dubai. Leaders, ministers, government workers, and those who won the prize were present at the ceremony. The Prize, honoring the legacy of UAE’s founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, rewards organizations addressing health, food, energy, water, and climate-related challenges.

This year, there were 11 winners who got a total of $3.6 million altogether. The Zayed Sustainability Prize is about supporting projects that are good for the environment.


More news from UAE