Abu Dhabi: The UAE Zakat Fund has allocated Dh12 million to support the education of children coming from difficult financial backgrounds.
The initiative is part of the Iqra'a or Read project carried out by the Zakat Fund — to help raise funds for 2,000 low-salaried families, who are struggling to pay for their children's private school education.
Through an assessment process conducted by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), 1,000 families across the UAE have already been identified as in need of the financial assistance.
"We allocate families in need of the funds by looking into factors such as the family's financial status, size, and the student's academic record. We are looking into offering the financial support to another 1,000 families before year-end," said Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, director general of Adec.
In addition, Adec, with Zakat Fund's support, is looking to allocate approximately Dh10 million for 50 less-privileged university students. "Each student will receive Dh50,000 a year for four years. The Zakat Fund has distributed application forms for those students, and based on analysis, decide to help fund their education," said Abdullah Bin Oqeidah Al Muhairi, secretary-general of the Zakat Fund.
A truck driver who earns Dh3,000 a month, has been receiving support from the Zakat Fund for the past one year so that he can continue the education of two of his children — a boy in Grade 10 and a girl in Grade 12 at an Abu Dhabi-based private school.
When speaking to the family, the stay-home mother explained that since the family was told about the fund, their lives had been transformed. "We only depend on my husband's salary since I do not work. I was told about the initiative by one my friends. The fund has been helpful for us since, because they cover school fees up to Dh6,000 per child," she said.
Before applying for the fund the family was struggling to get by. "We had to constantly borrow money from others and were always in debt. So many parents are not aware of this fund, and more people should know about it, because they definitely need it given the high tuition fees in private schools," she said.
Sunrise English Private School is lending a helping hand with its affordable fees. "We know of a few cases, who are still struggling to pay fees for their children. We have not yet been approached by anyone from the Zakat Fund, and I have not been aware of their initiative to help support parents in need, however, we would definitely be interested in this project," said Rajendran P., the school's vice-principal.
Keeping up good work
- Over 15,000 students have received financial aid since 2005, amounting to a value of Dh31 million
- Dh12 million allocated to school students across the UAE, out of which 1,000 have already received aid, and 1,000 are to receive it before year-end.
- Dh50,000 yearly is allocated to university students in need of financial aid, with a total benefit of Dh200,000 over four years.
- 90 per cent is the average grade that students need to maintain, if they are to avail the financial support.
- 394 expatriate students in private schools in Al Ain received Dh2,163,136 in financial aid, out of the Dh12 million.
Source: UAE Zakat Fund