The humanitarian legacy of Sheikh Zayed is strongly present today as the UAE marks Zayed Humanitarian Day, which falls on Ramadan 19, the day on which the founding father passed away. As The National reported yesterday, 95 individuals and organisations were honoured for their contributions to humanitarian projects run by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation to mark the occasion.
The day comes every year to remind us that Sheikh Zayed was always willing to extend a helping hand to victims of humanitarian crises in the region and beyond. He supported many educational, health, family and infrastructure projects in countries across the globe. He stressed giving and generosity as core principles for the UAE and its people and made many remarkable efforts to establish a culture of philanthropy.
This year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the Reading Nation campaign for Ramadan. The campaign not only achieved its three million book target within the first two weeks but surpassed it spectacularly during an auction on Tuesday. The total amount of donations is set to provide more than 7.3 million books to children and help set up 2,000 libraries in the region. More than 400,000 children in Yemen and in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and northern Iraq will benefit from these books.
This is only one example of a large-scale project that was initiated by the leadership and embraced by the whole community. To mark the Zayed Humanitarian Day in 2014, the UAE also launched the Suqia, or the water aid campaign, to provide access to fresh drinking water for 5 million people suffering from a shortage of potable water around the world. Last year, the country also launched its Yemen: We Care, or Relief for Yemen, campaign to encourage members of the public to send donations to help those suffering because of the conflict in Yemen. The campaign raised more than Dh500 million.
As Mohammed Al Gergawi, Secretary General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, said: “What we are doing today is continuing the course of Sheikh Zayed, who believed in the importance of charity.” His body may have left, but his spirit will always live among us.