Sheikh Zayed’s humanitarian legacy lives on

Sheikh Zayed passed away 13 years ago, but he left behind a legacy of philanthropy

On Wednesday, the UAE marked Zayed Humanitarian Work Day, which is celebrated every year on the 19th day of Ramadan, the day on which Sheikh Zayed, this country’s founding father, passed away after establishing a foundation for humanitarian contribution by the UAE.

Announcing the annual occasion in 2012, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said: “We proclaim this day as Humanitarian Work Day for the UAE, to commemorate Sheikh Zayed’s spirit of philanthropy and to promote the Emirati culture of giving.”

Sheikh Zayed was not only a leader; he was a father, a teacher and a humanitarian who believed in unity and compassion. He determined that aid should be provided for all people in need, regardless of geography, race or religion.

During his time, the country extended a helping hand to various nations affected by natural disasters and wars and the value of humanitarian aid and development reached about Dh90.5 billion, benefiting more than 117 countries worldwide, according to the latest report by the UAE Ministry of International Cooperation and Development.

The UAE has continued on this path under the leadership of Sheikh Khalifa and now it has been ranked as one of the world’s top aid donors for three consecutive years.

Naturally, the leadership's generosity has rubbed off on the people. Every year, the UAE launches nationwide campaigns to contribute to a specific cause, including the campaign to clothe one million children around the world in 2013, the Suqia drive to bring water to five million people in 2014 and the Reading Nation initiative to distribute five million books to children in refugee camps, schools and libraries around the world in 2016. Such campaigns were always supported by a high level of public participation.

The occasion is even more relevant this year as the UAE celebrates the Year of Giving, in which many humanitarian and charitable initiatives were launched across the country.