Dubai Cares, a program of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has announced that it awarded grants totaling AED 150.7 million (about $41 million) and launched twenty-six new education programs in 2017, its self-proclaimed "Year of Giving."
According to the United Arab Emirates-based organization, 18 million people in 53 developing countries have benefited from its educational programs over the past decade. Through its Year of Giving 2017 campaign, which marked the organization's tenth anniversary, Dubai Cares expanded its reach into eight new countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Colombia, Gambia, Kiribati, Madagascar, Peru, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Zimbabwe, and engaged more than 3,200 volunteers and 14,500 supporters (compared with 1,215 volunteers and 10,500 supporters in 2016) in its community engagement and volunteer initiatives.
In addition, through its Reading Nation Campaign, the organization delivered five million books in fifteen countries to schools, libraries, and refugee camps. The investment resulted in books being distributed in Algeria, Cambodia, Jordan, India, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Nepal, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Vietnam, as well as in UAE-based hospitals in Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaima, and Fujairah. And through its Adopt a School program, UAE-based individuals and organizations assisted eighteen schools in Cambodia, Malawi, Nepal, Palestine, and Senegal.
The organization also worked to address the systemic factors and causes behind the large number of out-of-school children and youth globally, with a focus on interventions in areas where governments are unable to provide services; provided funding for research-oriented programs; and launched pilot initiatives that generated valuable information for governments, policy makers, and civil society. The year also saw the organization increase its focus on early childhood development and move into new areas such as secondary education, youth empowerment, vocational training, skills development, and job creation and entrepreneurship.
"[The year] 2017 was a dynamic and rewarding year for Dubai Cares, particularly in terms of our programmatic intervention and our fundraising and community engagement efforts," said Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al Gurgc. "In the last quarter of 2016, we put in place big plans for the organization for 2017, and with the launch of the UAE's 'Year of Giving 2017' these plans became even more challenging and ambitious."