His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced today via his official Twitter account that the Reading Nation Ramadan campaign has exceeded its set target of five million books to reach over 8.2 million books.
The books will be distributed to unprivileged children and students in Arab and Muslim countries.
Commenting on the campaign’s outcomes, Sheikh Mohammed said, "As we have entered the last ten days of Ramadan, we conclude today our Reading Nation Ramadan campaign with 8.2 million books to be provided to those who need them. The books will open wide doors of hope for millions of needy students and refugees. They embody the divine message that we are truly a ‘Read’ nation. I thank everyone who has supported this initiative. Ramadan will always be a month of charity, and the UAE is, and will always remain, a generous nation and a global capital of benevolence."
With the total cash donations amounting to over Dh80 million in addition to book donations, the campaign will provide students across the globe with more than 8,280,000 books. Over 700 volunteers helped the campaign by receiving and sorting books and raising donations. The campaign’s auction was a huge success and generated Dh41 million in sales.
Teams start buying, printing and distributing books
Mohammed Al Gergawi, Secretary General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, said, "The annual Ramadan initiatives that are launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid give much-needed hope for millions of needy people. This year’s campaign complements the series of global development initiatives that are led by the UAE and focused on dealing with the root causes of poverty, ignorance and intolerance."
He added, " The seeds of charity and benevolence planted by our founding father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and nurtured today by our wise leadership have produced remarkable outcomes and are greatly appreciated by people everywhere."
"The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives is committed to spreading knowledge and hope, fighting poverty and empowering human beings. The Reading Nation campaign came at a perfect timing during the UAE Year of Reading and the Holy Month of Ramadan to help boost knowledge in Arab and Muslim countries."
Al Gergawi further elaborated, "Our positive attitude towards humanitarian issues is a rooted principle in the conscience and practices of the UAE leadership and its people. The Reading Nation campaign truly reflected this positivity and responsibility towards elevating the capacities of the Arab youth and building a promising future for them through knowledge."
"The most important outcome of the Reading Nation campaign is the belief that the fastest way to eradicate poverty is through eliminating ignorance as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said at the beginning of the campaign. Our teams have started buying, printing and distributing books. We have listed thousands of schools in Arab and Muslim countries that need books. We have also raised the number of beneficiary libraries from 2,000 to 3,500."
Launched at the beginning of Ramadan by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Reading Nation campaign initially aimed to provide five million books to children in refugee camps and underprivileged students in schools across the world through granting two million books to refugee children and a further two million books to establish more than 2,000 school libraries around the world.
In addition, the campaign was also mandated to support the educational programs implemented by the UAE’s humanitarian organisations worldwide - with one million books. However, the initiative exceeded its targets thanks to the great response from various entities and individuals in the UAE, with over 8.2 million books to be printed and distributed, and the number of beneficiary libraries increasing to 3,500 up from 2,000.
Based on the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a special committee was created at the onset of the campaign to manage the campaign. The committee was headed by Mohammed Al Gergawi, with representatives from the Ministry of Education, Dubai Cares, International Humanitarian City, Emirates Red Crescent, Dubai Government Media Office, Du Telecommunications, Etisalat, Abu Dhabi Media, Dubai Media Incorporated, Arab Media Group, and national newspapers and publications.
Over 500 UAE schools participate
More than 500 schools across the UAE participated in the Reading Nation campaign. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the campaign organised an open week in all schools in the country to encourage students to donate books. Other accompanying events were also organised to spread awareness about the challenges that underprivileged children are facing.
During this open week, students were encouraged to donate used books and help provide education and knowledge to students in refugee camps and developing countries. Dubai Cares provided schools with special boxes to collect donated books, in addition to tags for students to write messages to beneficiary children. The boxes were transported to the International Humanitarian City in preparation for shipping and distribution.
In cooperation with Dubai Cares, the Reading Nation campaign recruited over 700 volunteers from UAE citizens and residents who supported the campaign’s events in schools, communicated with students and their families, and helped donors complete the donation process and write personalized messages.
Volunteers also informed visitors and shoppers in malls about the campaign and its significance, while encouraging visitors to buy Dh30 coupons to donate three books. On the final day of the campaign, Dubai Cares organized an open day at Al Boom Tourist Village in which more than 400 volunteers helped sort books and put them in special boxes to distribute them to their beneficiaries.
Held as per the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and attended by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai , in addition to senior officials, the Reading Nation campaign’s auction generated over Dh41 million in sales enough to provide 4.1 million books.
The charity auction sold all offered items, including a 106-year-old piece of the Kaaba’s Kiswa donated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and that generated Dh2.1 million in sales. Other valuable items that were also donated by His Highness included a panel of extracts from his ‘Flashes of Verse’ poetry book signed by him and sold for Dh1.1 million. Two paintings for artist Abdul Qadir Al Rais were sold for Dh970,000, while a painting by Dr. Najat Makki was sold for Dh150,000.
A calligraphy panel depicting Surat Al Qadr and a 19th century manuscript edition of the Holy Quran belonging to Mohammed Al Murr, former Speaker of the Federal National Council, were sold for Dh110,000 and Dh250,000, respectively.
Furthermore, the historic edition of the Holy Quran, donated by Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health and Prevention, and dating back to 1682 was sold for Dh250,000.
For its part, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) offered five distinguished double-digit license plate numbers that collectively generated Dh25.5 million. Etisalat and Du Telecommunication offered 10 unique telephone numbers, with Etisalat’s numbers generating total sales of Dh4.16 million, while du’s numbers generated Dh2.5 million in sales. The auction featured De Lamar, a mare of pure Arabian breed that was offered by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud and sold for Dh260,000.
The Reading Nation Ramadan campaign enjoyed a wide interest and participation from official entities, corporations and members of the public. Both Etisalat and du Telecommunications donated Dh3 million each to the campaign, with the same amount also donated by Dubai Duty Free, DP World, MBC Group and a philanthropist who wished to remain anonymous. Furthermore, Emirates NBD and Lulu Group donated Dh2 million each, while Dh1 million was donated by each of Al Ansari Exchange, Kanoo Group, Hassani Group of Companies, Mohammed Saeed Al Kindi, and Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons.
This remarkable response from the UAE society reflects the belief in the country’s humanitarian and development role in making a real difference to the life of millions of children in Arab and Muslim countries. It also embodies the great confidence in the UAE’s noble message to the world that knowledge should be the path for reviving civilizations, and that books are the perfect companion for generations looking for positive change.
The Emirates Red Crescent responded swiftly to the campaign during the first week of its launch by distributing 500,000 books to Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Kurdistan. In addition, 500,000 books were dedicated to Syrian refugees in the Emirati Jordanian Camp in the first phase, to be followed by 2,000,000 books to refugee camps, half of them in Iraq and the other half in Jordan. The Emirates Red Crescent, in cooperation with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, announced that it will distribute 100,000 books to a number of public libraries in Yemen.
Mohammed bin Rashid receives UAE ambassadors, FNC Speaker
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today received Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council (FNC), members of the council and ambassadors of the UAE to other countries to exchange greetings on the occasion of Ramadan.
The meeting took place at Zabeel Palace in the presence of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group; Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, and Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
He directed the ambassadors to work tirelessly and in a transparent way to promote relations between the UAE state and people and other states and their people.
He also stressed the need for continuous communication between the ambassadors and officials of other countries to discuss all ways of cementing these relations and open new avenues for trade, tourism, cultural and investment relations to preserve national interests and reputation of the UAE.
During the meeting, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed and the officials discussed national issues and ways of promoting development and sustainability in all sectors to serve the people of the UAE and promote good citizenship and noble human and religious among the youth so as to drive comprehensive development.
He stressed that the UAE has attained its prestigious stature among advanced nations, thanks to the support extended by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
He called upon all government officials to promote the culture of field work and look closely at the needs of the people.
He also praised cohesion between the leaders and people of the UAE and the courage of the country's armed forces.
He further said he welcomes any proposals that serve the country and citizens, and underscored the importance of constructive coordination between his government and the FNC.