The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Image Credit: Abu Dhabi Media Office

Dubai: As the UAE today celebrates Zayed Humanitarian Day, leaders, volunteers, and organisations have pledged to uphold humanitarian causes and values in the spirit of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The occasion is marked every year on the 19th of Ramadan, the day when Sheikh Zayed had passed away in 2004. This year, the date of Ramadan 19 corresponds to April 10.

Between 1971 and 2004, the UAE donated more than Dh90 billion to 117 countries to help build mosques, hospitals, cultural centres, and other development projects, the Abu Dhabi Media Office reported on Monday.

Also announced today were a number of initiatives by UAE-based humanitarian establishments to provide iftar meals in Ramadan to tens of thousands of people in the UAE, Yemen and 40 other countries.

Leaders in the UAE also paid tributes to Sheikh Zayed.

Icon of giving

His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, affirmed Sheikh Zayed was an icon of giving and humanitarianism, and a force for good that benefitted all of humanity.

In a statement marking Zayed Humanitarian Day, Sheikh Hamad said that the UAE celebrates this timeless legacy, whose foundations were laid by the late Sheikh Zayed and reflect his vision to promote tolerance and giving.

He explained that the late Founding Father’s impact stretched across the region and the world, through his various initiatives and efforts, adding that this occasion is a time to reignite Zayed’s torch by launching more impactful humanitarian initiatives and projects that would help reduce poverty and boost the economy and development of other countries.

Kindness unbound

His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman, said Sheikh Zayed will always remain the role model and one-of-a-kind leader to whom the UAE people look up.

In a statement, Sheikh Humaid affirmed that this day continues to be an illuminating remembrance of the inspiring stories of Sheikh Zayed in the fields of giving and humanitarian work in the UAE and beyond, and a reminder to keep alive his march of giving.

Sheikh Zayed was not only a leader, but also a father and remarkable human being, powered with a heart that beat with compassion and humanity, opening his doors to any who came to visit or wished to meet him, the Ajman Ruler went on to say, noting that the Founding Father’s kindness knew no bounds.

Pillar of community

Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi, said that the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has become a global leader in humanitarian work, with its efforts to lend a helping hand sometimes continuing for days and months on end.

In a statement he made on Zayed Humanitarian Work Day, Sheikh Hazza explained that this occasion that commemorates the legacy of benevolence which Sheikh Zayed left us; a leader who establishing giving as a main pillar of the Emirati community.

This journey continues with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, inspiring Emiratis to always be eager to come to the aid of others wherever they are, he said in conclusion.

Aid inspired by Zayed

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), affirmed that the UAE, guided by President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is steadfast in its ever-growing efforts to expand and intensify its humanitarian and volunteer work, and limit the fallout of crises and disasters.

In a statement marking Zayed Humanitarian Work Day, Sheikh Hamdan highlighted the country’s efforts to alleviate the quake-caused suffering Syria and Turkey, adding that the UAE will continue to serve as an inspiration in terms of finding solutions and taking proactive measures to limit the repercussions of natural disasters and crises.

He also said that the UAE’s wise leadership was greatly inspired by the teachings and life work of Sheikh Zayed, which eventually put the UAE at the forefront of countries that promote human fraternity and helping one another.

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Frontline Heroes

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Frontline Heroes Office, has paid tribute to the Frontline Heroes of the UAE on Zayed Humanitarian Day. In his statement on the occasion, Sheikh Sultan said: “Zayed Humanitarian Day is a celebration of the authentic values that the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, instilled in the hearts and minds of the people of the UAE.”

He added: “Sheikh Zayed is an authentic symbol of the values of benevolence, giving, and mercy, and his humanitarian and charitable work extended to include people in need in various parts of the world.”

“On this important day, we recall with loyalty and pride the human values that were established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, since the country’s foundation in 1971, and these values are now instilled among the people of the UAE,” Sheikh Sultan said.

“Sheikh Zayed’s principles and vision constitute the basis from which the UAE responds to humanitarian work in various circumstances,” he added, noting that this emerged in the UAE’s humanitarian effort during the COVID-19 pandemic, in solidarity with worldwide countries.

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan said that the Frontline Heroes, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, rescuers, and technicians, set wonderful examples of humanitarian giving that the Sheikh Zayed established. This was evident during the Gallant Knight/2 operation, where they were among the first to participate in the relief of those affected by the devastating earthquakes that struck Syria and Turkey in February.

Sheikh Sultan stressed that the Frontline Heroes Office continues its humanitarian mission inside and outside the UAE to support the Frontline Heroes to extend a helping hand to everyone without exception.

Iftar meals

One of the initiatives being launched today is from Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), which has announced the donation of 2,000 iftar meals to community members in collaboration with Emirates Red Crescent. As a part of the initiative, EWEC colleagues have volunteered to distribute the meals at various locations in Abu Dhabi.

An EWEC employee gifting the iftar meals Image Credit: Supplied

Othman Al Ali, CEO of EWEC, said: “The holy month of Ramadan is a time for reflection and giving back to the community. Inspired by the humanitarian and philanthropic legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, EWEC’s social initiatives are a key element of our values that support us in enabling positive change in society. We hope that our contribution encourages more people across the UAE to embrace the spirit of giving during Ramadan and help those who are less fortunate.”

The donated iftar meals contain essential food items and will be distributed to individuals and families in need across the UAE throughout Ramadan.

18 projects

Meanwhile, more than a dozen community initiatives for Ramadan by Dubai Customs have benefited over 62,000 people. The announcement came today, Ramadan 19, which is marked as Zayed Humanitarian Day.

As many as 18 initiatives reached labourers, senior citizens, orphans, and underprivileged families. Additionally, the government department organised events for its employees, such as Ramadan evenings, and health and religious lectures.

Dubai Customs’ initiatives began before the start of Ramadan, including the Ramadan Mir campaign, which distributed 1,000 food baskets to underprivileged families in Dubai. Furthermore, the agency distributed 10,000 iftar meals as part of the ‘Al Furdah Hands’ initiative, amounting to 2,500 meals every Saturday during Ramadan.

In addition, Dubai Customs distributed nearly 40,000 iftar meals throughout the holy month so far, targeting support workers and security guards at customs centres and various locations in Dubai. Another initiative, the Sufrat Al Furdah (Al Furdah Feast) organised a community iftar for senior citizens at the Government Department’s main building, with the participation of the volunteer Ghayath team.

Dubai Customs also distributed date boxes to 2,000 families across Dubai, and over 8,000 workers benefited from its various health and wellness initiatives.

Also, among the various lectures, a religious seminar titled ‘Values of Gratitude’ was organised, along with informative talks on topics such as ‘How to Get Rid of Acid Reflux’, ‘Your Health During Ramadan’, and ‘The Health Benefits of Fasting and Proper Nutrition’.

Yemen aid

The Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation launched the ‘Iftar for the Fasting’ campaign in six Yemeni governorates under the supervision of the UAE Embassy in Yemen. The campaign included the governorates of Aden, Abyan, Lahij, Shabwah, Hadramaut and Taiz.

The campaign aimed to distribute 32,000 meals to families and the displaced in those governorates as part of efforts to alleviate the humanitarian conditions facing the population, especially during the Holy Month.

Mohamed Hamad Al Zaabi, UAE Ambassador to Yemen, said: “The inauguration of this generous campaign by the Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation comes within the framework of the UAE’s continuation of its humanitarian efforts towards supporting the Yemeni people and providing basic needs during the blessed month of Ramadan, which align with the values of generosity and giving of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the desire to build bridges with the Yemeni people and all peoples of the world in the Holy Month of Ramadan.”

Dr Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Director-General of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, said: “The framework of the continuous efforts of the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation in providing support and assistance to the Yemeni people includes the establishment of many charitable programs and humanitarian projects, especially during Ramadan.”

He explained that the Foundation has launched a campaign in a number of Yemeni governorates, distributing 2,133 meals per day for a period of 15 days, under the supervision of the UAE Embassy in Yemen, to provide food support to thousands of families.

He emphasised that the campaign coincides with the launch of the Ramadan campaign of the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation for the month of Ramadan this year under the slogan ‘Zayed’s goodness’, which includes distributing iftar meals in 40 countries around the world.