Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed: UAE continuing long tradition of humanitarianism

Nation pursuing philanthropy with wide range of campaigns

Powered by automated translation

The philanthropic tradition established by UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, runs deep in the veins of Emiratis, according to a leading figure at Emirates Red Crescent.

Speaking at the Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed on Monday, Dr Hamdan Al Mazrouei, chairman of the board of the Emirates Red Crescent Authority, said the human being is the cornerstone of every UAE initiative.

“We mean human being in its true meaning, without looking at ethnicity, race, or religion,” he said.

“That was what occupied Sheikh Zayed. How to support human beings while also preserving their dignity and this is the path that the UAE is continuing on.”

We have been one of the leading countries in the world to have laws that streamline volunteering and humanitarian work
Hessa Tahlak, Ministry of Community Development

Dr Al Mazrouei said this dates further back because Emiratis were originally tribesmen sharing their possessions freely.

“This was the Bedouin upbringing and Islamic teachings,” he said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, recently launched the Mothers’ Endowment campaign, which has already raised Dh1.4 billion to sustainably support the education of millions of people around the world.

“Sustainable endowments are a reflection of the UAE’s ongoing charity work,” Ali Al Mutawa, secretary general of the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, said.

“The Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation in Dubai have announced Dh10 billion worth in endowments, of which Dh4 billion are dedicated to social projects related to education, health, supporting orphans, widows, and others.

“This number would not have been achieved without us gaining the trust of the public. People would not leave Dh10 million or Dh20 million in endowments if they didn’t trust you, and today, we have all members of society investing their money in endowments.”

Range of campaigns

In the past two years, he said, more than half of contributors were women while endowments are also open to expatriates.

“This just proves that everyone in the UAE is involved in charity work whose foundation was first laid down by Sheikh Zayed, who himself contributed and taught us the rewards and the happiness you get back from giving,” he said.

He said that when residents are asked why they donate, their response is always “because we want to give back a portion to what this country has given us”.

Today, he said, everything can be an endowment as he cited examples such as donors offering the profits from a table at a restaurant to developers dedicating certain apartments.

“Now we have 18 developers who had two to three of their apartments in endowments and each apartment costs around Dh1 million to Dh3 million,” he said.

The most recent, he said, was a Syrian developer who donated 20 apartments worth Dh20 million for orphans.

Just last week, the UAE launched a Dh20 billion humanitarian initiative to honour Sheikh Zayed which aims to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable communities in the world.

Also at the Majlis, Hessa Tahlak, assistant undersecretary for the social development sector at the Ministry of Community Development, said donating and humanitarian work are part of the UAE’s identity.

“This developed with the development of the UAE,” she said.

“We have been one of the leading countries in the world to have laws that streamline volunteering and humanitarian work.

“Today, there are institutions that have been set up specifically to organise and streamline humanitarian and charitable work and, if this proves anything, it is that we are trying to create a global model to preserve this heritage and identity and make it more sustainable.”

She said there were more than 1,000 non-profit organisations in the UAE with more than 500,000 affiliates.

“They each have a crucial role in the contribution and sustainability of human heritage,” she said.

“Their work is completely voluntary whether inside the country or outside the country.

“During Covid, other countries had inflation. The UAE is the only country whose non-profit organisations alone donated more than Dh400 million.

“I believe what makes us distinctive as Emiratis is that we are charitable and giving people, and it is important to maintain this.”

Updated: April 03, 2024, 6:03 AM