x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dubai Cares charity is a world leader, UN summit hears

Dubai Cares' commitment to improving poverty and education was demonstrated by the charity's work in Sudan, said Reem al Hashimi.

NEW YORK // The commitment of Dubai Cares to fighting poverty and improving education was demonstrated by the scale of the charity's work in Sudan and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the charity's chairwoman told a global philanthropy summit. Reem al Hashimi said Dubai Cares had trained 22,379 teachers, built or renovated 2,072 schools and helped set up 3,157 parent-teacher associations in its first year.

Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative, a development project launched four years ago by the former US president Bill Clinton, Mrs Hashimi said: "We are fighting to alleviate poverty, generating better education and creating economic opportunity, and enabling people everywhere to be entrepreneurs. "We strive to change people's lives for the better by opening doors for future generations, to shape their communities by equipping them with world-class knowledge, education, willpower, confidence, and, most importantly, hope," she said.

Working on a five-year project with Save the Children in Sudan, Dubai Cares supports 115,000 children in 200 schools and 50 early-learning centres, providing three times more cash than the combined contributions from all donors last year. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dubai Cares is working to address the ethnic divisions that have scarred the country since a civil war that "remains fresh in the memory of the children, influencing their perceptions and relations with one another", Ms Hashimi said.

"The most blatant emanation of ethnic division and the segregation of children is the phenomenon of divided schools, or two schools under one roof; where children are segregated, and often physically divided from each other based on their ethnicity or nationality." Mrs Hashimi, who is also a minister of state, gave special emphasis to the "troubled neighbourhood" of the Middle East, noting that more than half the region's population of 1.5 billion were aged under 25, 80 million of whom were seeking jobs.

"We believe that building a strong knowledge-based society, along with a strong regional economy, is our best chance for lasting stability in the Middle East," she said. Mrs Hashimi added that Dubai Cares was now the largest global charity devoted to primary education, announcing that the almost US$1 billion (Dh 3.7bn), raised during last autumn's eight-week funding drive helped achieve the UN's poverty-reduction targets, the Millennium Development Goals.

The conference drew world leaders, celebrities, activists and scholars for three days of discussions about global issues such as climate change and poverty. It coincides with the General Assembly meeting at UN headquarters. jreinl@thenational.ae