Mona Al Marri (left), Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of Dubai Women Establishment, and Dr Tariq Al Gurg, CEO and Vice Chairman of Dubai Cares Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Coinciding with the UAE’s ‘Year of Sustainability’ 2023, Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative this year marks 10 years of continued philanthropic and humanitarian projects and campaigns.

Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative was launched in 2013 by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of UAE Gender Balance Council (UAE GBC) and President of Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court.

The year 2023 showcases the UAE’s sustainable approach in addressing the issue of climate change. Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative’s campaign is being implemented this year in partnership with Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), to support the integration of education into the global climate agenda.

Designs of Hope

The Dubai Ladies Club will host the eighth edition of the ‘Designs of Hope’ charity exhibition organised by Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative from April 5 to 7, with the participation of various Emirati designers, jewellers and fashion designers. The entire proceeds will be allocated to Dubai Cares and will go towards supporting the integration of climate change issues into educational curriculums and systems – which reflects the UAE’s values that emphasises the importance of humanitarian work.

Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of Dubai Women Establishment, said Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative supports Dubai Cares’ efforts in highlighting and emphasising the importance of integrating climate change awareness into the educational system as a vital tool to raise awareness of the adverse effects of climate change that are threatening the planet.

She stressed that these joint efforts contribute towards strengthening the global position of the UAE and emphasising its active participation in tackling worldwide challenges – especially in combating the issue of climate change because it is linked to many other issues such as health, water, education, development, economy and gender balance, all of which constitute the pillars of the sustainable development goals.

Humanitarian vision

She added that over the past 10 years, Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative has launched, and implemented numerous charitable projects and campaigns targeting various segments of society and causes, with a focus on education, health and water safety which translate the humanitarian vision of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. She added that Sheikha Manal is keen that these programmes have a sustainable, significant and tangible impact in the lives of the beneficiaries, especially women and girls, as it significantly contributes to any country’s social, economic and political development process.

Mona Al Marri said that the partnership between Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative and Dubai Cares confirms the global development approach of the UAE, referring to the two entities’ prior areas of collaboration, including the support of Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative for the ‘Bookings 2030’ campaign launched by Dubai Cares in 2019 to provide educational opportunities for children and youth in need and help them achieve their professional aspirations in the future.

Both parties also cooperated in implementing the ‘teacHER’ campaign launched by the Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative in 2017 and 2018 to increase children’s access to quality education, especially supporting girls’ education globally.

Climate action leaders

Commenting on the significance of the collaboration, Dr Tariq Al Gurg, CEO and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares, said: “Climate change is an ever-growing global crisis that affects women and girls disproportionately and amplifies the learning inequalities facing them in many parts of the world. Through the integration of education into the global climate agenda, we can catalyse transformative change that will not only reduce the ill effects of climate change on women and girls, but also empower them to become climate action leaders.”

He added: “As our long-standing partner, Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative has contributed significantly to our global efforts in improving the lives of children and youth, particularly girls, through access to quality education. Now, as Dubai Cares gears up for COP28 as its exclusive Education Partner, we are thankful to Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative for hosting the ‘Designs of Hope’ exhibition, to help us promote climate change education for women and girls and position education as a crucial opportunity for them to play a bigger role in driving climate change solutions.”

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A history of philanthropy

Since its launch in 2013, Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative has implemented many campaigns and programmes in various fields, such as health, education, food, and support for female workers.

In 2013, the Initiative supported the prevention and treatment of 1 million patients suffering from sight ailments in various regions worldwide through the ‘Noor Al Hayat’ project.

In 2014, it supported the ‘UAE Water Aid Initiative’ launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide 5 million people in developing countries with improved access to safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation.

And in 2015, in response to ‘The UAE Initiative for Connection with Orphans and Minors’, launched by Sheikh Mohammed, Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative launched the ‘Selah’ Art Programme to help the orphans and minors, which capitalised on the therapeutic effects of art to help orphans ‘connect’ to their creative spirits.

During the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative launched ‘ReacHer’, an initiative providing women with mental health support and consultation services, which aimed to support women across their familial, social, and economic roles amid the implications and repercussions of the pandemic. The ‘ReacHer’ initiative was implemented in partnership with Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) and several mental health practitioners, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists who provided consultations to women through various safe communication channels.

In 2022, Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative provided support for the eye health care program implemented by the Noor Dubai Foundation in Katsina State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which targeted 160,000 male and female students and 3,000 teachers in 194 primary schools in the state, by conducting periodic eye examinations and providing medical glasses for those who need them.