Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday announced that he would match the figure raised by the Dubai Cares campaign.

He said: "I am a leader. I usually lead. But why did I wait till the end? To double the budget."

Shaikh Mohammad made the announcement at a ceremony at Madinat Jumeirah to mark the close of an eight-week charity drive that raised over Dh1.7 billion to help educate one million children in poor countries around the world.

With Shaikh Mohammad's announcement, the total raised will be Dh3.4 billion.

Based on a long-term strategy of investing in community-based, education programmes, ‘Dubai Cares' will use the donations to build and renovate schools, train teachers, promote gender equality in education, provide teaching materials, offer scholarships, organize school feeding programmes and establish annual medical check- ups for students in some of the poorest countries in the world.

Shaikh Mohammad's sons and daughters acted as ‘ambassadors' of the campaign, working tirelessly to garner support beyond domestic borders.

They toured several impoverished countries to gain first-hand information and met with government officials and students to personally review their requirements.

The Comoros Islands, Yemen, Djibouti, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chad and Sudan were some of the countries that the Dubai Cares flag traveled to.

The Dubai Cares campaign was launched by Shaikh Mohammad to channel Dubai's philanthropic efforts towards education in poor countries around the world.

The campaign is Dubai's contribution to a global drive to help countries achieve their UN Millennium Development Goals of providing primary education to every child by 2015.

It is founded on the belief that education is the best long-term solution to poverty and an effective engine for national development.