Abu Dhabi: A person should feel extremely privileged to live in a society that respects individuals and gives opportunities, relief and support to those who have lost everything to continue their battle of living.
The unique model of humanitarian work and its guiding principles of benevolence were always upheld by Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was loved and respected by Emiratis and expatriates alike.
Ramadan 19, which coincides with the ninth death anniversary of Shaikh Zayed, has been named Emirati Humanitarian Day.
Remembering the humanitarian leader and celebrating his philanthropic initiatives, the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development has expressed its gratitude to Shaikh Zayed, who has instilled the spirit of giving and upheld the principles of benevolence.
Around 30,000 volunteers are currently registered at the Foundation since its beginning in 2005 to create a culture of volunteering and strengthen the spirit of giving within the UAE and abroad.
“Emirates Foundation has developed several programmes since its inception to create sustainable solutions for community needs across the world. In order to serve those least able to help themselves, the Foundation has engaged several Emirati youth in a renovation plan launched in Ramadan,” said Maitha Al Habsi, Chief Programmes Officer at the Emirates Foundation.
“More than 200 volunteers from the Foundation have participated in a large-scale campaign to clean and renovate mosques across the UAE. Work has already begun at mosques in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. The team has provided mosques with copies of the Quran and distributed water and free iftar meals to worshippers during Taraweeh prayer,” she added.
The renovation plan is part of the Takatof Programme for Social Volunteering, which was first launched in 2007, to mobilise both people and resources in the UAE and deliver creative and sustainable solutions that meet community needs.
Also the labourers programme has been introduced in Ramadan to provide free iftar meals to workers across the UAE.
Over 143 volunteers have dedicated more than 187 voluntary hours to accomplish the goals of this programme.
“Nearly 1,000 voluntary hours have been dedicated to accomplish the scheduled plan, which is now in its seventh year. We always receive generous contributions from private donors and organisations to help us achieve our goals and provide humanitarian and social services,” Maitha told Gulf News.
“In one day, we have received around Dh250,000 from one of the banks, which has announced its willingness to support the idea of volunteering as a way of life and encourage the spirit of social responsibility, and every day we receive more contributions,” she added.
Emirates Foundation has an international programme where a group of 560 Emirati volunteers have visited needy countries to look into their needs and provide necessary relief to those whose lives have been disrupted by clashes.
“Our volunteering team travelled to Tanzania in 2012 to renovate schools for children and provide high-quality education and services to them,” Maitha told Gulf News.
The total volunteering hours for international projects is 66,603 hours.
“In an effort to meet the needs of local communities in the various host countries, Emirates Foundation has visited Egypt and Pakistan and participated in different projects and activities such as maintaining and constructing and refurbishing houses and schools in Pakistan for flood victims, and visiting centres for the elderly, orphans and people with special needs in Egypt,” she added.
Maitha also pointed out that their next destination will be Jordan and they are looking forward to expand their presence across the UAE to promote the spirit of giving and volunteerism and take advantage of the Emirati youth’s abilities and skills.