Al Maktoum Foundation shows true spirit of season

The deputy ruler of Dubai has donated millions to help Emiratis and foreigners in need.

DUBAI // As one of the worst droughts in 60 years wreaks devastation in the Horn of Africa, UAE officials are preparing to help thousands of families in need.

Mohammed Obaid Ghannam, the secretary general of Al Maktoum Foundation, will travel to Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia as part of a fact-finding mission to determine what is needed.

The foundation, which is the personal charity of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, carries out humanitarian projects across the UAE, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Previous projects have included building schools, clinics and Islamic centres funded with hundreds of millions of dirhams in donations from Sheikh Hamdan.

Thirty-eight schools, some of which include on-site medical clinics, have been built by the foundation in 22 countries and are already operational across Africa. Two more will soon open in Ethiopia.

Sheikh Hamdan approves the budget for the coming year each Ramadan.

Schools in Africa will receive more than Dh55 million until Ramadan next year.

An extra Dh1.65m is allocated for iftar meals and another Dh8m is awaiting approval to help 10 staff from each school to perform the Haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Mr Ghannam regularly inspects the schools with an educational adviser.

A request has also been received by the Republic of South Sudan to open additional schools in the newly formed nation. Al Maktoum Foundation already operates schools in Juba and Malakal.

In the UAE, the foundation will be donating Dh31m towards supporting families during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, as well as 410 orphans.

Mr Ghannam said Dh150,000 would go to Dubai Police to help victims of abuse, and Dh100,000 would be used for the rehabilitation of teenage offenders. More than Dh4m will go towards a school in Hatta for the disabled.

Other international projects include a small school in Mexico, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, Al Maktoum Institute in Dundee, Scotland and a centre for Islamic Studies in Rotterdam, Holland.

Published: August 3, 2011 04:00 AM