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06 June 2023

UAE professionals unite to launch charity initiative

Ayman and Sheikha Maisa at a news conference in Dubai. (PATRICK CASTILLO)

By Aimee Greaves

A new charity initiative has been launched to help the people of Haiti, three weeks after an earthquake destroyed large parts of the Caribbean nation.

UAE for Haiti, supported by In Dubai We Trust, is raising money for the UAE Red Crescent's aid efforts, including the establishment of a field hospital near the capital, Port-Au-Prince.

The charity arrived in the devastated country following the 7.0-magnitude quake with much-needed medical and food supplies.

It has so far delivered 145 tonnes of aid on two aircraft, with a third getting ready for dispatch. Overall, they aim to send 500 tonnes of aid. Ayman Al Saleh is spearheading the UAE for Haiti initiative, with the help of Sheikha Maisa Al Qassimi and Dr Shetty's NMC Group and Neopharma, which is donating first aid and medical supplies. Although the UAE for Haiti is accepting some food goods with expiry dates more than one year hence, including rice, sugar, baby food and powdered milk, they are putting the emphasis on cash donations.

"Financial support is preferable. The scale of this disaster is unimaginable and there has never been a time where the UAE community should come together to support a global cause," said Al Saleh.

"We have already had four or five companies come forward to offer help and everything helps as we aim to raise as much money as possible."

One of the first corporate donations came from Okku restaurant in The Monarch Hotel, Dubai, which donated all its dinner proceeds on Monday evening, totalling Dh51,300, and Al Saleh is encouraging more to follow.

"Please create fundraising opportunities, be it for your staff or customers.

"It is simple, yet it can make a significant difference," he urged, adding that any schemes much have advance approval from the Red Crescent in line with UAE law. In Dubai We Trust provides a platform for organisations to promote global initiatives. Khaled Ghandour from the group said: "There are people in dire need in Haiti so we want to make a difference and help them re-build their lives.

Sheikha Maisa, who was the first person to back the scheme, said: "It's time for people to see that the UAE can provide for all global causes and not just those in need locally."

People can donate by depositing money in the UAE Red Crescent's bank account at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank under account number 20000323, or calling the hotline on 800 733.


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