DUBAI, 8th May, 2021 (WAM) -- His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, announced that the UAE’s Ramadan campaign has secured 216 million meals, more than double its target, for vulnerable groups in 30 countries across four continents.
‘100 Million Meals’ campaign, the region’s biggest food distribution drive, concluded on Saturday after drawing massive donations from 385,000 individuals, companies, businessmen and philanthropists across 51 countries through various donation channels and two charity auctions.
Funds raised will help distribute food parcels, equivalent to 216 million meals, to people in need across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.
Low-income families, orphans, widows and parents of refugee children in several countries have already started preparing their own nutritious meals during the holy month of Ramadan as distribution of food parcels began in cooperation with local and international partners.
Distribution of food parcels, carrying essential easy-to-store food items, will continue over the next three months to reach beneficiaries in the 30 targeted countries. Every AED1 donated helped provide one meal in beneficiary countries.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the overwhelming community engagement and record turnout of individuals and companies who donated to the campaign confirms, once again, that the UAE will always remain a global capital of philanthropy.
"The record donations and support to ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign is a testament that strategic and sustainable humanitarian work has become an established culture in the UAE."
He added, "the objectives of ‘100 Million Meals’ were ambitious to match the magnitude of hardship that COVID-19 has brought to vulnerable populations across the world."
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum concluded, "the campaign’s biggest success is proving that humanitarian work in the UAE has no limit."
The campaign’s organiser Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) is teaming up with 12 food banks and nine humanitarian and charitable organisations to deliver food aid to the doorstep of underserved homes in targeted countries.
The campaign, which ran for 28 days, brought together all segments of the society from the art community and car enthusiasts to prominent businessmen, government and private entities, and members of the public from inside and outside the UAE.
Website and SMS donations secured 20 million meals, while contributions of the private sector alone helped provide 70 million meals.
Massive donations continued to pour in even after the campaign achieved its 100 million meals target within the first 10 days of its launch.
The Ramadan campaign was launched to create a food safety net for disadvantaged communities and provide a chance of a dignified life, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated unemployment and poverty in developing nations. The campaign is part of UAE’s contribution to global efforts to combat world hunger and malnutrition.
Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Secretary-General of MBRGI, said the overwhelming success of the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign reflects the deep connection of the UAE community and institutions with the humanitarian and relief initiatives launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
"In the UAE, there is an innate desire to help people in need," Al Gergawi said. "It was clear to see, from the number and range of donors, that the entire UAE community is galvanised by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s forward-looking vision to institutionalize humanitarian work across the nation."
Praising the combined efforts of charitable and humanitarian organisations, Al Gergawi said, "the harmonious teamwork between all partners – from international stakeholders to local entities and individuals – was key to exceeding the campaign’s goals."
He noted that the collective donations from individuals and companies, besides the distribution carried out by partnering entities, has helped provide a food safety net to disadvantaged communities across four continents.
"Thanks to the deeply embedded sense of empathy and charity that runs rich among the UAE’s citizens and residents, our country’s work to eradicate malnutrition and hunger across the world will only continue to accelerate."
Al Gergawi added that the widespread and swift response to the campaign reflects the UAE’s core values of solidarity with people around the world, cementing the status of humanitarian work as part of the lifestyle of citizens and residents.
Held in parallel to the influx of donations pouring into the campaign’s channels, the exclusive international Charity Art Auction gave philanthropists and art enthusiasts a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own rare artworks by world-renowned artists and items from the personal collections of world leaders, while contributing to providing food aid to vulnerable groups in 30 countries.
Headlining the auction, organised by MBRGI in collaboration with Maupy Auction, was a piece of Kaaba cover, embroidered in gold and silver, donated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and drawings by the late South African President Nelson Mandela, alongside valuable masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse and Joan Miro.
A week later, the ‘Most Noble Numbers’ charity auction achieved a world record by selling the prestigious single-digit car plate, AA9, for AED38 million to become the world’s second most expensive number plate.
The auction, held in collaboration with Emirates Auction, Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai (RTA) and Etisalat, raised donations for the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign by selling off three double-digit plate numbers U31, T38 and E51 and five exclusive Etisalat mobile numbers from Etisalat: 0569999999, 0569999993, 0549999993, 0565555556 and 0545555558.
Led by MBRGI, easy-to-store parcels are delivered to the doorstep of people in need through a collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, the Food Banking Regional Network, and local charitable organizations in the 30 beneficiary countries.
The WFP will help distribute 20 percent of the campaign’s food parcels in Palestine and refugee camps in Jordan and Bangladesh, while the Food Banking Regional Network is securing food parcels to target groups in 13 of the targeted 30 countries.
Food aid will reach beneficiaries in countries including Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Tunisia, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Angola, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burundi, Benin, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kosovo, and Nepal.
Dr. Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Haddad, Grand Mufti and Director of the Ifta Department of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai (IACAD), issued a fatwa permitting the payment of cash forms of zakat to purchase food parcels for the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign.
Media coverage of the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign reached 136.1 million views, while the campaign’s videos garnered 350 million views. More than 4,000 news articles and features in local, regional and international media outlets highlighted the incoming donations from different parts of the society and detailed food distribution operations in several countries.
The MBRGI, organiser of the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign, was established in 2015, combining under its umbrella over 30 humanitarian and developmental initiatives and entities.
The ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign is the latest addition to the foundation’s humanitarian, social and development initiatives that are primarily devoted to supporting and empowering vulnerable and disadvantaged communities around the world, regardless of race, religion, or geographical region.
It falls under MBRGI’s Humanitarian Aid and Relief, one of the five pillars of the foundation’s operations that cover Healthcare and Disease Control, Spreading Education and Knowledge, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Empowering Communities.
The campaign is an expansion of the locally-held ‘10 Million Meals’ campaign that was launched in Ramadan 2020 to provide food support to empower COVID-19-hit groups across the UAE.