x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Sheikh Mohammed’s donation ensures three million children can now be clothed

The Clothe a Million Children campaign trebles the number of children it will help as Red Crescent announces that Egypt will benefit the most.

ABU DHABI // The Clothe A Million Children campaign will now clothe three million, thanks to a generous donation from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed's office announced yesterday it was able to raise Dh60 million - Dh20m more than its target and enough to clothe 1.5 million children. That was then matched by a personal donation from the Dubai Ruler.

The campaign, which was launched by Sheikh Mohammed at the start of Ramadan, will benefit children in 25 countries.

"What pleased us the most was the spirit of giving which was prevalent through this holy month in our beloved country," he said. "The result of which was to bring happiness to three million children at Eid, as well as hundreds of others from other giving initiatives."

He said millions have benefited from UAE donations, making the UAE the "goodness capital, and a minaret for giving, and a kind hand of relief to the deprived wherever they are".

He prayed that God protect the country, its people, its children and its future. "And always inspires us to do good and to continue it," he said.

"The UAE will continue in playing its Islamic, humanitarian and civil role in supporting disadvantaged people. This was started by our founding fathers, and we will continue it, God willing, and we will embed this spirit in our children and generations so that giving becomes a primary role in our country's development, and a primary role in its future."

He thanked the Emirates Red Crescent for its efforts, and other charity organisations that helped to support the campaign. He said not only was he proud of the results, but also all the efforts put in to make it successful.

So far, thousands of children have been benefited from the scheme, including children in Bosnia, Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, India and Uganda, and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.

The Red Crescent has plans to send delegations to Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Bangladesh.

Yesterday, officials at the Red Crescent said a team was sent to the Philippines to pass out clothing.

Through their embassies abroad and local charities, they said they are able to decide how best to pass on the clothing.

Naema Al Mihiri, deputy general secretary for relief and development at the Red Crescent, previously said that Egypt, which now has its own dedicated campaign to help it in light of the political turmoil, would benefit most from the clothing project.

Among the last-minute donors were Arabtec, the Dubai-based construction company behind Burj Khalifa and Emirates Palace hotel.

Yesterday the company handed over an oversized Dh5mcheque to the Red Crescent's secretary general, Dr Mohammed Al Falahi. Arabtec also donated Dh7m to support 4,000 orphans across the globe.

"Since I started working at the Red Crescent, this might be the happiest day in my career here because this is the biggest donation we have had so far," Dr Al Falahi said.

"Before this donation, we were supporting 71,000 orphans in 28 countries. But after your donation we can support 75,000 orphans."

Hassan Abdullah Ismaik, Arabtech chief executive, said the support of 4,000 orphans would be annual, with each donation occurring around Ramadan 19, Emirati Humanitarian Work Day, held in memory of the nation's founder, Sheikh Zayed.

Dr Al Falahi thanked Mr Ismaik for his trust in the Red Crescent.

Since the Emirates Red Crescent was established in 1983, it has donated Dh1.1 billion to benefit more than 36,000 orphans.

osalem@thenational.ae