As the Founding Father Sheikh Zayed taught us, the principles of generosity and duty are at the heart of the UAE
Charity is a gift that truly keeps giving
“Wealth is not money,” Sheikh Zayed once said, “wealth lies in men.” True power, he argued, lay in directing “all our resources to build the individual and to use the wealth which God has provided us in the service of the nation”. With the UAE’s 47th National Day looming on the horizon, the thoughts of Emiratis, as well as those who choose to live here, will be turning to how they can give something back to the nation that has provided them with a home, security and the opportunity to achieve their dreams. It was in that spirit, no doubt, that businesswoman Muna Al Gurg tweeted: “How are you contributing back to the world you live in? What is your purpose in life?” A woman of actions as well as words, she followed up the question with a Dh5 million donation to the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, a philanthropic organisation set up by Abu Dhabi government in 2005 to help young people achieve their full potential. Ms Al Gurg’s gesture was heralded by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, as “a good example of businessmen and women’s generosity and their investment in social welfare programmes and youth empowerment”. Ms Al Gurg is also not alone in her generosity; she is joined by other Emiratis who have all made a contribution to society by supporting their compatriots.
For charity is not just one of the pillars of Islam. The whole notion of giving back is stitched into the fabric of the UAE. There is an acute awareness among all who live here of the incredible contribution made by the late Founding Father to ensure a prosperous future. In this, the Year of Zayed, there is a chance to show gratitude by continuing to uphold the values he held dear and passing the baton forward to the next generation. They will benefit from these endowments and, in turn, understand the vital role they will play in continuing to build a nation for their own children to flourish within.