x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Thousands in UAE give up a day to help others

The UAE celebrates Zayed Day for Humanitarian Work - an initiative conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to coincide with the anniversary of the founding President¿s death.

Volunteers for Adopt-a-Camp and Dubai Chamber of Commerce partnered to put together more than 5,000 Ramadan care packages for labourers as a part of Zayed Day for Humanitarian Work at Sheikh Rashid Hall at World Trade Centre yesterday. Sarah Dea / The National
Volunteers for Adopt-a-Camp and Dubai Chamber of Commerce partnered to put together more than 5,000 Ramadan care packages for labourers as a part of Zayed Day for Humanitarian Work at Sheikh Rashid Hall at World Trade Centre yesterday. Sarah Dea / The National

Across the UAE, charities, organisers and volunteers are taking part in today’s Zayed Day for Humanitarian Work – a nationwide wellspring of charity events commemorating Sheikh Zayed, founding President of the UAE.

Zayed Day for Humanitarian Work, originally Emirati Humanitarian Work Day, was conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to coincide with the anniversary of the founding President’s death.

Sheikh Mohammed said the country would today celebrate humanitarianism, which Sheikh Zayed embodied. He said the UAE was following in the former President’s footsteps, which would help its people to prosper.

One of the largest events taking place is Adopt-a-Camp’s Ramadan Care Packages scheme. Six thousand volunteers will spend this evening assembling care packages containing three months’ worth of toiletries, one month’s worth of energy food and other basic items such as bedding, clothes, plates and energy drinks.

These will be given to 5,000 labourers on Monday at a private ceremony.

Saher Sheikh, Adopt-a-Camp founder, said she hoped the non-profit organisation’s work would make Sheikh Zayed proud, and continue his legacy. She said: “Adopt-a-Camp is humbled and honoured to be associated with Emirati Humanitarian Work Day.”

The scheme has as its partner the  Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the third consecutive year. The event represents the country’s new Zayed Day for Humanitarian Work on a federal level.

It has filled its quota of volunteers but will be open to the public tomorrow from 6pm until 11pm at Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre.

Although Sheikh Mohammed’s successful campaign to clothe a million children ends today, it has raised much more than expected. Last week, DP World donated Dh2 million to the cause. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World chairman, said the initiative embodied “the spirit of caring for the underprivileged, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. That the campaign focuses on children, the most vulnerable in society, is particularly important”.

Noor Dubai, founded by Sheikh Mohammed in 2008, is a non-profit and non-government entity “with a vision of a world free from preventable forms of blindness”.

Its Free Vision Screening campaign culminates today in a series of free eye tests for up to 3,000 labourers at Al Muhaisnah Medical Fitness Centre from 9am to 2.30pm.

Labourers can have their glasses checked and free caps, T-shirts and water coolers will be given out.

Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation is hosting two events in memory of Sheikh Zayed.

The Ministry of Interior’s Licensing Department will showcase an exhibition of photographs and books about Sheikh Zayed at 10am. A lecture will also be held at the Police Club on Sheikh Zayed’s humanitarian work, and that of the foundation, from 10pm until 12pm.

The Ministry of Social Affairs has organised a string of events across the country to commemorate the founding President’s humanitarianism.

It said it hoped to raise awareness of the importance of humanitarian work, spread a culture of charity among youth and shed light on successful humanitarian work in the UAE.

The “A Cool Ramadan” initiative, with Bait Al Khair, aims to give 390 needy families fridges and air conditioners. A Compassion Fund will be collected to help employees needing urgent aid. Meanwhile, young people at social education homes will be given the opportunity to go on Umrah.

Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah social services centres will host exhibits showcasing photographs of Sheikh Zayed, and labourers will be given iftar meals at social services centres across the country. Sharjah, Fujairah, Khor Fakkan, Jalfar, Kalabaa and Dibba centres will also have clothes handouts for children and the needy.

The ministry will also promote the Clothe One Million Children, Big Heart and Egypt In Our Hearts campaigns. Egypt In Our Hearts, implemented by the Red Crescent on the orders of the President, Sheikh Khalifa, provides aid to Egyptians in need after years of instability. Big Heart, launched by Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, provides shelter, food and education to displaced Syrian children.

The Emirati Nursing Association will host free medical examinations at Sharjah’s Al Mubarak Centre at 5pm today. People can check their blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and train in cardiac resuscitation techniques. The association will also distribute health leaflets.

Mohammed bin Rashid Housing, working with Beit Al Khair Society in Dubai, will collect donations from staff and official representatives. It will host a range of philanthropic activities, according to the chief executive, Sami Gargash.

He added that the company would promote the importance of humanitarian work and be involved in promoting community security with a culture of self-initiative to do good.

Last year, the UAE ranked 16th worldwide in the provision of humanitarian aid. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi said this “motivates us to exert more efforts in the international humanitarian and development areas”. She said the President, Sheikh Khalifa, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid were responsible for the country’s humanitarian drive.

haslbustani@thenational.ae