A recent survey by Statista, an online statistics portal, showed that Myanmar is the top country regarding “giving back,” so where does the UAE stand?
Well, it ranks in the top 10, as 51% of the country’s collective wealth goes to charities.
There is an undeniable spirit of giving in the UAE, which naturally becomes evident during the holy month.
Focus on giving
In recent times, there has been confusion surrounding charities, donations and volunteer work after the Government tightened regulations to strictly control a sector that had been open to abuse, according to The National, a UAE news website.
The authorities consider that promoting or raising funds for any charity that isn’t included on its lists are illegal.
However, that should not distract us from the work of the UAE’s approved charities and humanitarian organizations.
Embrace your humanity in Ramadan
Let’s look at three of the country’s philanthropic organizations to find out about the campaigns that they are running during Ramadan.
1-Dubai Cares: It’s a charity that makes education a primary goal to the needy and was founded in 2007 by Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
Dubai Cares provides relief to tens of millions of people regardless of their nationalities, gender, race or religion in some of the world’s poorest countries as well as those affected by natural disasters.
This Ramadan, Dubai Cares concluded partnerships with the retail sector, including Lulu Group, Landmark Group, and Al Tayer Group, set to make it easier for shoppers to donate, according to the organization’s website.
A month-long activation at The Dubai Mall will help raise funds as well as celebrate “Giving,” a common value between the Holy Month and the “Year of Zayed.”
A “Back to School” edition of Volunteer Emirates is set to engage 2,000 volunteers in the assembly of 50,000 school kits bound for children affected by the Syrian crisis in Jordan.
2- Emirates Red Crescent: Describing itself as a “volunteer humanitarian organization that supports official authorities in times of peace and war,” Emirates Red Crescent is based in Abu Dhabi and was set up in 1983 with support from Founding Father Sheikh Zayed.
It carries out Red Cross operations throughout the UAE, spreading health awareness and education as well as rescuing people from disasters and aiding orphans, widows, the elderly and people with special needs.
This Ramadan, they are collecting clothing items to be redistributed among those in need in countries that are ravaged by conflict.
3- Al Jalila Foundation: It was established in 2013, promoting medical education and research in the UAE and providing the means for ground-breaking research programs.
Its latest research center is opening this year in Dubai’s Healthcare City, on which it will focus its efforts on cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and mental health.
During Ramadan, the Foundation has collaborated with 15 Marriott International properties in the UAE, which are donating a portion of their Iftar proceeds to the charity’s Farah program, through which it supports medical treatment and research for children.
Ramadan is not just about spiritual growth for many wealthy individuals, whether they’re Muslim or not; it is also about doing what they can to give back to the community.
How is the UAE changing the world for the better?
Giving Pledge, a charity campaign created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet invites the world’s wealthiest philanthropists to commit more than half their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetimes or in their wills.
Among these philanthropists, three have joined the campaign, and it’s not surprising at all to see the UAE take part in this humanitarian initiative.
The three philanthropists from the UAE include Badr Jafr, CEO of the UAE-based Crescent Enterprises and President of Crescent Petroleum, as well as NMC Health and UAE Exchange Founder BR Shetty and VPS Healthcare Founder and Managing Director Shamseer Vayalil.
“Recognising the rapid generation shifts occurring in developing markets, including the Middle East, my philanthropic activities are built around this urgency to promote a culture of strategic high-impact philanthropy as an imperative for private resources to serve the public good,” Badr Jafr wrote in his pledge letter.
BR Shetty, for his part, said that “it is a crime when you are able to help others and choose not to.”
Lastly, Shamseer Vayalil noted that he believed “success means having created something that can make a positive and sustainable difference in the lives of people.”
“Over the past eight years, we’ve been inspired by the dedicated philanthropists who have chosen to join the Giving Pledge and this year’s group is no exception,” Warren Buffet said in a statement.
“They are passionate about using their wealth to help reduce inequities and improve the lives of everyone in the world,” Buffet added.
“The donation will be allocated according to a well-devised plan throughout the coming years,” reported Forbes.
“It will be based on a strategy that is supervised and managed by a board of trustees headed by me to ensure that it will be used after my death for humanitarian projects and initiatives,” it added.
To date, 183 donators from 22 countries have signed onto the Giving Pledge, ranging in ages from 32 to 94.