'Arms of Zayed' reaches out to UAE families in need

Arms of Zayed, an initiative organised by the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme, will see groups of volunteers renovate the homes of needy families living in the UAE.

DUBAI// Government volunteers will renovate the homes of low-income families in a humanitarian initiative organised by the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme.

The initiative, "Arms of Zayed," was announced on Thursday at a suhoor for employees of the housing programme, the Ministry of Public Works and the National Transportation Authority.

Renovations will begin after Ramadan with employee volunteers targeting the homes of poor families around the country.

"We will work to do maintenance or painting for low income people," said Basem Al Namer, director of the engineering services department for the housing programme.

The suhoor, attended by the Minister of Public Works, Abdullah Al Nuaimi, also featured a charity auction of 20 photographs taken by Mr Namer, a dedicated amateur photographer.

The auction raised more than Dh50,000 for the campaign to dress one million needy children launched recently by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. The campaign has been extended after reaching its target far in advance of its goal date.

"When you can give something to help somebody, that's good," Mr Namer said. "Usually I sell my pictures, but this time it's for good."

Mr Namer - whose father was one of the UAE's first photographers - chose a set of 20 images he took in the UAE, Oman and Turkey to sell at the auction: the Dubai skyline at sunset, young girls dancing and waves on a beach.

The photographs were auctioned off in four groups. The first group raised Dh5,500 and the second, Dh15,000.

The third set was bought by the Minister himself for Dh20,000 and the final set sold for Dh15,000.