Dubai: Dubai based businessman Mirwais Azizi who became the largest donor last week to contribute Dh100 million to ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ campaign said the Azizi family is proud of contributing to the campaign and hopes that their involvement will inspire others to join Dubai’s fight against hunger and malnutrition in the world.
Azizi, also a known philanthropist from Afghanistan, who is the founder and chairman of Azizi Developments, spoke to Gulf News to explain his mantra of helping the people in need.
Azizi Developments was among the first contributors to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative (MBRGI) campaign launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai on the first day of Ramadan this year.
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“Sheikh Mohammed taught us that charity efforts in the UAE know no boundaries, which is proved by the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ campaign, a key milestone that further enhances the UAE’s humanitarian role on a global level,” Azizi said.
Azizi Developments, he explained, chose to focus on eradicating hunger through the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ initiative as this is one of the most pressing global issues, and with this particular campaign having the potential to improve a vast number of lives.
“Access to adequate nutrition is a fundamental human right, and supporting hunger eradication initiatives will create a healthier world. Alleviating hunger can have a positive ripple effect on education, healthcare, and economic development as well, making change in this realm very impactful across other global issues,” he noted.
“When we came to the UAE as a family more than three decades ago, with just a few million dirhams, we found Dubai, and the UAE as a whole, to be a very hospitable, welcoming place that offered us safety and an exceptionally high quality of life with countless unparalleled opportunities,” Azizi said.
Azizi is deeply grateful to UAE and said he feels compelled to give back, not only to charities within the UAE, but also beyond.
“Our donation to the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ fund is of great importance to the Azizi family and Azizi Developments as a company — all that we as do is with the intention to enhance lives, be it through developing world-class real estate projects, or through our CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] efforts,” he said.
“Philanthropy is indeed a vital aspect of our culture at Azizi Developments. We are proud to contribute to such a significant cause and hope that our involvement will inspire others to join the fight against hunger and malnutrition.”Eradicating hunger
Azizi noted that initiatives like ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’, with so many kind-hearted supporters and donors joining hands to drive change, will help curb hunger and malnutrition in underserved communities.
Moreover, he added, education goes a long way.
“Educating people on these very important topics — hunger, malnutrition, and food wastage — can help motivate more to get involved in eradicating them. Informing people of the nutrition-related difficulties faced by over 800 million individuals around the world can work wonders in compelling them to volunteer and donate,” he said.
Azizi’s charity works
Azizi explained that they have wide-ranging CSR plans in Dubai covering everything from sporting event sponsorships with them being a pillar partner of the Dubai World Cup - to sustainability, equality, and health.
“On a global level, we are building a cancer centre, a hospital, a dialysis centre, and the largest orphanage in Afghanistan. Education is also of importance to us: we grant scholarships to students in Afghanistan.”
Azizi family also distributed 1.5 million food parcels during Ramadan across Afghanistan, along with tents and personal hygiene products.
Azizi said that their contribution to the ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ fund has a two-fold objective. One is to aid a large number of families in need that are affected by hunger and malnutrition. “We also strive to foster social stability and stimulate economic growth in the regions where vulnerable populations reside,” he added.
Azizi said he sees his donation as a motivating factor to get more organisations and individuals to contribute to this noble cause.
Volunteering, donating, and raising awareness — these are the best actions that one can take to curb global hunger and malnutrition.
“We hope that campaigns such as the 1 Billion Meals Endowment motivate people to do exactly that.We have launched the Azizi Foundation several decades ago with the intent to better the world. Financed solely by our family, it continues to tackle global issues, including hunger and malnutrition, but also health, education, and sustainability,” he concluded.
The ‘1 Billion Meals Endowment’ campaign welcomes donations and contributions to the endowment fund from institutions and individuals across five main channels including the campaign’s website, as well as a dedicated call centre via the toll free number 800 9999.
Donations are also possible via bank transfers in the UAE dirham to the campaign’s bank account number with Emirates NBD (AE30 0260 0010 1533 3439 802).
Donations via SMS give contributors the option to donate Dh1 daily through a monthly subscription, by sending the word “Meal” to 1020 for du users, or to 1110 for Etisalat by e& users.
Those who wish to donate to the campaign through the DubaiNow app can do so by clicking on the “Donations” tab.