Al Jurf Secondary School students receiving the Young Philanthropists Award from Marwan Ahmad Al Sawaleh. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Students and schools on Thursday won Dubai Cares’ Distinguished Philanthropic Award in Schools for creative and sizeable fund-raisers on campus.

Dubai National School, a private US school in Al Barsha, won first place in the Philanthropic School Award category for raising the highest amount. School principal Suad Abu Harb told Gulf News the school raised around Dh220,000 in about two weeks.

“The children made baked food items and sold them on campus. We closed down the school canteen and everyone participated with great enthusiasm,” she added.

In the Young Philanthropists Award category, a team of five girls from Al Jurf Secondary School in Ajman took first place for the most creative fund-raiser. Noor Al Kharaz, a twelfth grader from the team, said students made cards of verses of the Quran and each reader paid Dh1 for each letter of the verse. She said their fund-raiser collected Dh3,000.

Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares, said: “Through this award, we have witnessed our nation’s energetic, compassionate, and forward-thinking students — with the support of their schools — embody their commitment to philanthropy, which is at the core of the ‘Year of Giving’. The UAE’s ‘Year of Giving’ encourages all of us to look beyond our own lives, and our personal concerns and priorities, and dedicate ourselves to improving and transforming the lives of others through volunteerism, service, social responsibility, and global citizenship.”

He added: “We thank all participating students and schools who have shown impressive creativity in developing and executing successful and unique fund-raising concepts. We are also thankful to supporting partners — the Ministry of Education and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority [KHDA] — without whom this initiative would not have been possible.”

Amal Al Redha, director of fund-raising at Dubai Cares, told Gulf News: “We’re very overwhelmed by the response we got from the students … The main objective of this event is not just to raise funds to support the cause that we serve, but to also instill the sense of philanthropy in children at a very young age.”

She added that the funds will go towards “supporting our mandate, which is to provide children and young people with access to quality education around the world. Our objective and our role in this [awards’] initiative is to constantly update the schools on the impact that their effort and time has resulted in, and to engage them in the process as well”.

Dubai Cares, part of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, honoured the winners at a ceremony at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai. All participating schools present at the ceremony were acknowledged, as was the ministry and KHDA.

Dubai Cares launched the award in 2015 to encourage students from UAE-based public and private schools to organise “innovative and effective” fund-raising concepts to support access to quality education for children in developing countries.