Photo credit Photo Caption lead in Khalaf Al Habtoor, Chairman of Al Habtoor Group,at the inauguration of the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation at Al Farooq Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque and Centre, Al Safa, Jumeirah ? photo Zarina Fernandes/ Gulfnews Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Dubai: The Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation was launched yesterday with the stated objective of improving the lives of people in need within the UAE, in addition to providing aid abroad.

“Twenty per cent of Al Habtoor Group shares have been allocated for the foundation. It is of course different from Zakat, which is mandatory for every Muslim,” announced Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, chairman of the Al Habtoor Group.

“I decided to launch the foundation to combine all the charities I am involved in and put them under one framework, in accordance with the foundation’s statute that defined its objectives and noble goals,” he said.

“One of the most important goals of the Al Habtoor Foundation is to help all humans in general, with a particular emphasis on UAE nationals, within a comprehensive and sustainable development approach and a healthy environment. It will draw on its principles looking towards leadership and excellence,” he pointed out.

The head office of the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation is located at Al Farooq Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque and Centre in Jumeirah, and the organisation functions in close partnership with the UAE Red Crescent.

“I chose to launch the foundation from Al Farooq Mosque for the latter’s role in our society as a beacon of education, faith and intercultural communication,” Al Habtoor said.

The charitable activities of the newly-founded foundation will include support for education and scientific research, besides promoting sports and providing assistance and grants to researchers and scholars in different fields and specialisations.

Ahmad Al Mazroui, chairman of the board of directors of the UAE Red Crescent, praised Al Habtoor’s humanitarian efforts over a decade. He said the industrialist had donated over Dh100 million to charity, of which Dh10 million had been donated to cover medical aid and treatment of children caught in the Syrian conflict.

The Dubai-based foundation will not only benefit those living in the UAE but will also answer to the needs of communities around the world affected by natural disasters and social calamities. It will also ensure the welfare of orphans besides promoting inter-religious and intercultural communication and enhancing education.

“When you establish a new charity organisation to help the needy and orphans, we are supporting those inside and outside the UAE. It is important to strengthen humanitarian work in the country and shed a new light on [easing] the people’s burdens,” Al Mazroui said. He added that the Al Habtoor Foundation and Red Crescent complement each other, and that Al Habtoor has been one of the biggest donors to the Red Crescent in the last several years, helping provide aid to a number of countries such as Somalia and Pakistan, besides Gaza.

“I wish all the wealthy businessmen would look at contributing to our humanitarian efforts, and even if they donated one millionth of their profits, the world will be a better place,” Al Mazroui said.