Millions of children gain opportunity to break poverty cycle.In 2007, a vision was born to help a million children gain education access in poor countries.
Today, the lives of 7,000,000 children in 28 developing nations have been transformed by that vision – Dubai Cares.
In a little over five years, the group has greatly surpassed its own initial goals, as it continues to facilitate quality primary education for countless more.
The philanthropic organisation is driven by conviction that education is the way out of poverty.
“Education is the most effective tool to break the cycle of poverty, a belief held by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It was with this belief and a desire to give children – regardless of their nationality, creed or religion – the opportunity to become positive contributors to society, that His Highness established Dubai Cares,” said Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al Gurg.
As an early indication of Dubai Cares’ potential and impact to come, the launch ceremony took everyone by surprise. With a relatively modest Dh200m initial target, contributions far exceeded expectations – nearly nine times over – reaching more than Dh1.7bn.
Another pleasant surprise came when that amount was doubled when, during Dubai Cares’ closing ceremony in November 2007, Sheikh Mohammed revealed he would personally match every dirham raised in the campaign – bringing the total to Dh3.5 billion.
Its support network also spread far and wide. In partnership with UN agencies, international aid groups, private foundations and local NGOs, Dubai Cares runs programmes in building and renovating schools and school facilities like libraries and latrines, supplying and publishing books and materials, teacher training and curriculum development.
Depending on the need, it also engages in student health and nutrition projects.
Its four key components are School Infrastructure, School Health and Nutrition; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools; and Quality of Education.
And besides the planned programmes, Dubai Cares has scrambled emergency responses in communities hit by natural disasters or violence. Be it the devastating earthquake in Haiti or the deadly floods in Pakistani, both in 2010, Dubai Cares was there on the ground. Those relief efforts have continued till this year, in the form of rehabilitation efforts and key component programmes.
And it has come to the assistance of Palestinian children in strife-torn refugee camps, in Lebanon and Jordan, among other similar responses in Africa.
Equal gender and ethic representation in schooling is also under its mandate, with a number of such projects carried out in marginalised communities in Africa and Bosnia Herzegovina.
Dubai Cares has also set its targets to include achieving, by 2015, the United Nations Millennium Development (UNMDG) Goals 2 and 3 of “guaranteeing universal primary education and promoting gender equality, respectively.” To that end, it is also assisting in galvanising a global partnership for development, as indicated by UNMDG 8.
Al Gurg said: “Dubai Cares implements comprehensive development programs in countries with the highest gap in primary education and is committed to forging global partnerships for development, as represented by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
“In the UAE, Dubai Cares engages residents through a series of volunteer, awareness and fundraising initiatives that are linked to its global mandate – namely, to break the cycle of poverty by providing children in developing countries with access to primary quality education.”
Recent examples of its UAE initiatives were The Walk for Education and Volunteer Emirates. Dubai Cares said such regular events will continue to be held to engage the community.
In a message on Dubai Cares’ website, Al Gurg says: “Finally, as we celebrate together this achievement, we should be reminded that our mission is far from over – 69 million children around the world still do not go to school. But, we are hopeful that with your continued support we will reach even more children through relentless efforts and unwavering commitment.”
From Gulf News