Dubai: Charity work was the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s “duty and one of his main values,” Ahmad Mohammad Al Mansouri, Former Deputy Director of Radio and TV for Broadcast Affairs in Abu Dhabi, said at a Ramadan Majlis.
The Majlis, organised by the Dubai Press Club, hosted a group of media personalities and well-known Arab intellectuals, who worked with Shaikh Zayed, they spoke about him, his vision and his humanitarianism.
Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, who was Shaikh Zayed’s translator for years, said that Shaikh Zayed felt that he was put on this earth by God “to give himself, his money and efforts to build this country and bring prosperity and happiness to those living in it and to extend a helping hand to anyone in need.”
Speakers agreed that Shaikh Zayed’s kindness was not limited to his countrymen, but extended to all — as long as they were in need.
Nusseibeh added that, in all of Shaikh Zayed’s travels, if he came across any hospital, he would order that they find any Arab or any person who could not afford to pay their bill and pay it for them.
“When he would see on TV or read in a newspaper about a patient or an orphan or any needy person — even if that person was in Brazil — he would order aid to be sent to them,” he said.
The UAE has continued in Shaikh Zayed’s philanthropic footsteps, Nusseibeh said: “What made the UAE stand out and have a distinguished position amidst all other countries, is not just because it has been a pioneer and successful in any venture, but because of the many philanthropic and humanitarian organisations it has, that has put it in the forefront of the countries that provide aid to the needy.”
Mohammad Al Qudsi, a media adviser, said that in the 34 years Shaikh Zayed ruled the country, the UAE sent Dh26 billion in foreign aid to 59 countries across the world. The UAE continued to helped with Dh18 billion even after Shaikh Zayed’s passing.
“Dh26 billion plus Dh18 billion, which is Dh44 billion in total, was give as foreign aid — no country in the world has given as much.”
Shaikh Zayed, Al Qudsi added, was the one who established the Zakat Fund and the Marriage Fund as well as the monthly aid given to needy families.
Al Mansouri said that Shaikh Zayed’s kindness even extended to animals and plants. “Did you ever hear about a leader or ruler that provided aid for animals? Zayed did that.”
He added that Shaikh Zayed did not only care about his countrymen, but he cared about preserving the environment and livestock.
Al Qudsi added that Shaikh Zayed made many decisions to preserve the environment, that were unprecedented by any leader back then. “In his life Shaikh Zayed received 16 environmental awards… we did not hear about any communist or capitalist leader receive any environmental award.”