The United Arab Emirates has perfected the art of launching charity campaigns, raising funds in a few days and dispatching aid to the needy in a timely fashion. The ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on April 11. The objective was to raise funds to prepare 100 million meals for poor families in 30 countries in Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America this Ramadan. In just 10 days, the target of raising Dh100 million was achieved, thanks to the generosity of UAE business houses, citizens and expatriates.
The Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) has begun dispatching food to Sudan, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Angola, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Palestine. This is being done in collaboration with 12 food banks, UN World Food Programme (WFP) and other agencies. A total of 185,000 big and small donors contributed to this charity campaign, a proof of large-heartedness of UAE people and their eagerness to help those in need.
The donors came from all walks of life. The country’s art community alone raised over Dh36.6 million in a charity auction where artwork of leading artists and celebrities was put under the hammer. The live in-person event at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira in Dubai last weekend featured a piece of the Kiswa, the cover of the Kaaba in Makkah’s grand mosque, from the Shaikh Mohammad’s personal collection. It was sold for $2.7 million.
This money is now funding food parcels in Ghana, Angola and Uganda where food distribution has also begun. In Ghana’s capital Accra, 2.5 million meals are being distributed to Zongo communities. In Uganda, distribution of 1.25 meals is underway and outside Africa, this campaign is reaching out to disadvantaged communities in Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan.
The meal campaign and other previous initiatives launched by the UAE are textbook examples of how to efficiently reach out to the poor without wasting time and resources. The country has put in place nuts and bolts to execute mass charity campaigns and the credit goes to the country’s leadership and institutions. The UAE also enjoys geographical advantage as it can access several countries in four to six hours of flight time. It also has logistical capabilities and infrastructure to procure, store and transport food and material at a short notice to disaster-hit regions.