There are presently 2,059 orphans from 515 families registered under the society’s orphan sponsorship programme. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Beit Al Khair Society has been working to support underprivileged Emirati families and UAE residents since its inception in 1989.

One of the society's main undertakings is a project that provides monthly allowances to underprivileged Emirati families. The funds are dispensed after a careful study of each family's situation.

Each application that comes before the society requesting financial assistance undergoes a full assessment that starts by verifying the documents furnished and an initial study of the family's needs. A team from the society then visits the family to determine whether its request for help is genuine.

Once the application is approved, biannual follow-up reassessments are conducted to make sure that the donations only go to deserving families.

According to Abideen Taher Al Awadi, director general of the organisation, all administration fees are taken from an endowment account and not from donations given for the humanitarian cause.

Retirement assistance

"Many people come to the society and tell us to cancel their allowance or [to] give us back their pre-paid shopping cards provided by the society because they don't need them any more as some of the family members [have] started working and they have a steady income," Al Awadhi said.

Zakat money is kept in a separate account to ensure grants meet Zakat criteria, such as settling the outstanding debts of citizens who have reached retirement age and have not manged to settle their debts.

At around Ramadan time each year, the society launches the three-month Ramadan campaign, starting from the Hijri month of Rajab and ending on Eid Al Fitr.

This year's Ramadan campaign was launched on March 19. Contributions by way of money as well as foodstuff and coupons which can only be exchanged for foodstuff are welcomed under the scheme.

Emergency fund

The amounts dispensed vary according to the number of family members and their total incomes, but the regular monthly allowance starts from Dh750 per family member.

Other than the regular monthly amount paid to some families, there is an emergency assistance programme, which dispenses instant help to people in urgent need for purposes like medical treatment, rent or bills, or even a ticket for residents left with no means of returning home.

The upkeep of orphans is accorded prime importance by the society.

There are currently 2,059 orphans from 515 families registered under the orphan sponsorship programme. Sponsoring an orphan costs Dh500 per month or Dh6,000 per year, and the amount can be paid on a monthly or annual basis.

"The sponsor is provided with full details about his sponsored orphan and his family and is also given a biannual report about the orphan's progress. The sponsor is also allowed to meet the child, especially during Eid or other occasions," Al Awadi said.

Orphan sponsorship is stopped once an orphan graduates and finds a job, or when a female orphan gets married or finds work. Sponsors are intimated about this change in circumstances of their ward and asked whether they would like to sponsor another orphan.

Other projects include helping school and university students through payment of school fees, providing stationary coupons before the beginning of each academic year and helping higher studies students with necessary expenses including laptops, transportation and meals.

The society also helps with necessary renovations to homes of Emirati families living in dilapidated houses.

Catering to diverse needs

  • Monthly monetary and food allowance for underprivileged families and people with special needs.
  • Student programmes
  • Ongoing charity, which includes endowments and house renovation.
  • Seasonal programmes such as the Ramadan campaign, Eid gifts and Zakat.
  • Orphans projects, including sponsorship and the orphans' fund.
  • Other projects include sponsoring families and paying off debts.

Cases and funds dispensed in 2011

  • January: 4,932 cases; Dh5,373,663
  • February: 5,144 cases; Dh5,420,567
  • March: 5,143 cases; Dh5,799,716
  • April: (until the 20th): 4,957 cases; Dh5,086,327.
  • Orphans on sponsorship: 2,059