Charity | Organ Donation | United Arab Emirates

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A Ramadan guide to charity

The

power of giving
Paul Macleod, WFP

Charity is about changing lives, even that of the giver. At the upper end of philanthropy’s spectrum, you can find projects that will absorb your entire year’s budget. And you can travel to see the smiles on the faces that benefit from your benevolence – knowing with complete transparence how your charity dirham is being used
text Shalini Seth

Saudi Special Ambassador to the UN, Abdulaziz Arrukban, on a visit to Cambodia

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Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, WFP’s Goodwill Ambassador, on a visit to Malawi

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t is the season for giving,” World Food Programme’s Zeina Habib says matter-of-factly as she puts together her notes for the month of ramadan. and she is prepared to receive any amount. “no amount is too small or too big,” she says – informing you that a mere 19 cents US, (70 fils, Uae) can feed a child for a day, while she outlines a customised project for as much as $3 million that can feed 3,060,000 children for a year. an extra $3m will also give them cooking supplies, forks and spoons, teachers in schools and mosquito nets. Customising no longer seems the prerogative of the carmakers and ateliers. Humanitarian organisations now call their donors “clients” and make sure that they have a menu of programmes from which to choose. They plan and execute. “We work in 82 countries, with programmes that include everything from Food for Work to Food for education. You

can even log on to donate some money, with options such as which country you would like the money to go to, or even which project. We need funds for them all. Sometimes donors ask us for guidance. They also like to visualise where the money is going. We organise a visit to the project so you can see how your money is being used and help you plan what you want to do next,” Habib says. organisations go one step further. “We have ongoing projects in the areas of health, education, water, community development We don’t want just the cheque. We work with you,” says Hani alzubaidi, marketing Director for liFe, Gulf. Their list of specialisations is not designed simply to tug at heartstrings. Charity organisations now offer turnkey management of client operations, single or multiple service inputs and advisory services for operations management. They can and do deliver tangible inputs. They will create a project >

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Hisham, WFP

m i l l i o n a i r e PA S S I O N & P O W E R

“I stIll have a jet-settIng lIfestyle. I call It a good day If I have breakfast In tanzanIa, lunched In rwanda and dIned In naIrobI. and I stIll make mIllIons. only, It Is for other people. It Is my duty to make money now”
for you with clear expectations. The logic is simple. Barbara Castek, Ceo of Dubai aid and Humanitarian City (DHaC) says: “We feel that if organisations provide a proper vehicle to the donor, aid will be forthcoming. money will come.” and it does. a campaign called Trillion for lebanon registered itself as a non-profit making organisation this July to create fundraising campaigns for lebanon. a committee of 22, with 200 members got together to create different fund-raising campaigns to making giving easier. armed with an approval from islamic affairs and Charitable activities Department and the money eventually going to Sheikh mohammed bin rashid al maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Foundation, which is in charge of controlling and distributing aid to lebanon from

the Uae, the charity is hard at work. a hoarding campaign, for instance allows a company to divert some of its advertising spend in buying space on a billboard. another fund-raiser from Trillion for lebanon organised a charity sale of high-end brands which included clothes, perfumes and electronics. For the average shopper, the high of getting a good deal was offset by the fact that the money goes towards charity. it is almost as if, you cannot help but give. “our focus was long-term planning rather than relief work. So we have planned 40 fund-raising events to suit different people,” says spokesperson Hassan awada. Since most donors are likely to respond to an occasion, organisations gear for that. For instance, during ramadan, when charity tops most people’s list of things to do, organisations in the region focus on awareness-building programmes. The Uae’s islamic affairs and Charitable activities Department gets ready to announce lists of charities approved by it and educates people about procedures of holding a charity event. “The difference during ramadan is that people approach you for giving. They are looking for someone… a lot of people would like to donate. it is our job to show them how,” Habib says. alzubaidi says, “last year during ramadan, we had sent more than $200,000 from Qatar to Palestine. even if we do not have a project in the country you want to donate in, we will put you in touch with others who do, or get a report within two days.” DHaC is planning a programme for donors soon. “People want to diversify aid. in about a year, we will have a donor assistance department where people can discreetly check for projects, sort them by country gender and age,” says Castek.

ABDULAZIZ’S STORY
Showing what a charity organisation can achieve can also change lives. When abdulaziz arrukban, a Saudi businessman, visited Darfur, it eventually led to him becoming the first Saudi citizen to volunteer to work with the WFP. He is now Saudi arabia’s Special ambassador to the Un. This is how he tells his story: “i gifted my life. But they gifted me a job. my story is very sad in some ways, but at the same time it is very happy. as a chief operating officer of one of the large corporations in riyadh, i was making millions. Then i went on a visit to Darfur. really, there were people who had

nothing. i was in a camp where there were 100,000 people. “We live comfortably, buy more cars, more everything. it is amazing sometimes. it is a shame on us. “i came back in December and i came and spoke to my company. They asked me if i wanted more money, or if i had been offered another position. i asked if they would relieve me for a year. Since then i have been working for WFP for one dollar a year.” Being an ambassador for an organisation that asks you to pledge your dessert is not very different from being a businessman, arrukban says. networking helps too, just like in the real world. “it is true that i had to work hard to introduce WFP better to Saudi

Abdulaziz in Cambodia, making friends with the world
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Paul Macleod, WFP

Charity programmes are themed. During festival, the mood can be decidedly celebratory. “around ramadan and Christmas we once started a project called Donate a Dessert. The price of your dessert can feed a child for one month,” she says. on the other hand, emergencies, compelling images and slogans, backed with information about a world in need can always nudge a response. When there is a crisis, such as lebanon, the world opens up its hearts and coffers. aid comes pouring in. amounts get larger and larger and everyone wants to be part of the solution. With lebanon in focus, Uae President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al nahyan announced the disbursal of $20m for medical supplies and urgent relief materials. Tecom investments followed up their initial “dirham for dirham” effort with a community campaign in cooperation with the Uae red Crescent Society (rCS). abdullatif almulla, Chief executive officer, Tecom investments, says: “in the dirham for dirham initiative. The staff contribution of aeD46,970 was doubled by the management to take the total to aeD93,940. The amount has been wired to the Uae red Crescent’s bank account.” The Uae Chapter of Young arab leaders, a network of men and women who have reached unprecedented levels of success at relatively young ages, aligned themselves with the Uae lebanese Friendship Committee and gathered more than 130 tonnes of relief material. items included food and canned children’s milk in addition to blankets, tents and other basic needs to support the displaced people.

Jordan’s Queen Rania is actively involved in philanthropy

Souq.com, the middle east’s leading auction website, is hosting charity auctions for items donated by its members in the Uae and Jordan. “We will also arrange to pick up the item that you want to auction from any location that you specify. The company will also waive its fees,” a spokesperson says. >

arabia but it is a perfect match to start with,” he says. “i am doing exactly what i used to do. i still make money – make millions in fact. But it is for other people. “i still have a jet-setting lifestyle. i call it a good day if i have breakfast in Tanzania, lunched in rwanda and dined in nairobi. and i still make millions. only, it is for other people. it is my duty to make money now. “in my new job, from last December to this august, i have made $42m,” arrukban says. like all true believers in the power of charity, he believes in a world without borders. “it is not about religion, it is about helping another human being.”

and there is no going back. “Probably i will continue doing what i am doing now. You cannot change the world. But at least you can make a difference.” Children also learn to be heirs to a charity empire. “my youngest son was born when i was in Cambodia. That day i adopted 14,750 children from the slums there. When you see them you realise how privileged you are. Those children, they would pick food from the dumps, they did not know where their next meal would come from. God knows where they sleep. They are also my family now. “i am taking my older son to rwanda to be a little ambassador. it was a pilot project and you cannot take someone else’s child for this. i want him to see other children. There was a child who has lost both his

parents to aiDS. i want my son to stay with him, sleep in the same bed, play with him, eat with him – be as comfortable with him as he is with computers in his class.” abdulaziz arrukban, may his tribe increase.

Paul Macleod, WFP

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“around ramadan and chrIstmas we once started a project called ‘donate a dessert’. the prIce of your dessert can feed a chIld for one month”
When arab media Group (amG) sponsored a 10-hour live telethon across its entire radio and television network, the first donation came in the first few minutes. abdulaziz al Ghurair, Deputy Director of mashreqbank, pledged aeD5m. This was followed by a aeD1m donation from businessman ahmad abdullah al Shaafar, while lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief, donated aeD100,000. Coordinated with the support of Sheikh mohammed bin rashid al maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Foundation and the Uae Chapter of rCS, the live campaign initiated by Dubai media incorporated generated nearly aeD49m in pledges. and that is only one campaign. many were responding to the image of Huwaida, an eight-year-

old victim of israeli bombing, who kept asking for her father while lying on a hospital bed. But what next?

LET’S TALK CHARITY
“We need to sustain the person’s interest by showing them what is happening. There is always an emergency. after a crisis, depending on the size of the problem, it takes many years for people’s lives to come back on track. But if the TV stations are not there, people think it is over,” Habib says. When well-known faces do come forward, they become ambassadors for the cause. When Saudi Prince alwaleed bin Talal al Saud, the world’s eighthrichest man by Forbes magazine’s reckoning, recently pledged $1m, he followed up his donation with a visit Barbara Castek to the areas in Kenya

PETER DALgLISH

‘I wIsh I was doIng what you do’

Peter Dalglish was a newly appointed lawyer for a top law firm in Canada when he had what he calls “a near-life experience”. “i went to ethiopia with the intention of staying two weeks to distribute food and medical supplies. These two weeks changed my perspective on life — i realised that the world probably did not need another lawyer, so i returned to Canada and handed in my resignation.” Today, more than 20 years later, the founder of Street Kids international and many other foundations says his day job is “the best i could have ever asked for – i teach a weekly class as a volunteer at the Shree mangal Dvip Buddhist School that educates children of poor, low-caste nepalese in Kathmandu, nepal. in order to put food on the table for my family,

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where the money was being used. When Her royal Highness Princess Haya bint al Hussein joined WFP as a Goodwill ambassador, media flocked to see her interacting with people for whom starvation is a way of life. rock star and anti-poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof is huge support for the ones who are fighting the same battle. “When we take any group of donors to the field, we can invite the media, so others can read about it, see it on TV. When we go somewhere, we can bring pictures with us – so others and we know these are not only pictures, these are true things,” Habib says. During the lebanon telethon in Dubai, arab celebrities appealed for donations on air, including egyptian actors adel imam, Yusra, Hanan Turk and Diana Haddad, Uae singers Hussain Jasmi and mohammad al mazem, as well as middle east rally champion mohammad bin Sulayem. When Sama Dubai TV ran an opinion poll, Queen rania of Jordan made an appearance. “Your children are our children; your wounds are our wounds; your house is our house. let’s work together to take the child back to his school, the farmer to his farm, and the family back to its home,” she said. For the ones who have been there, nothing, they say, can take away the poignancy of being face-to-face with the person to whom you are giving the next meal. even regulars in the world of charity are moved. “i was working

Princess Haya in the field

with WFP for a while when i first went on the field. nothing compares to going and seeing for yourself. People are actually suffering, it is not just something you see on TV,” Habib says. When the givers travel to witness the fruits of their giving, it can lead to more. “When people go on the field they become >

i travel the world advising schools and companies on community service, leadership and social justice. i am also the senior advisor in nepal to the Swiss nGo [non-governmental organisation] Terres de Hommes on child labour, child soldiers and street children,” he says, listing the many offices he holds. and, of course, he is the envy of his entire peer group and the pride of his parents. “i don’t think a week goes by without a friend’s email saying, ‘i wish i was doing what you do’. The great thing now is that my friends, many of whom are extremely wealthy, call me wanting to donate their money to an important cause. i use their money and they use my connections with various organisations to help the world’s poorest people – it is a great partnership. “my parents are thrilled because they know i am so happy and that i am making

a true difference to children around the globe,” Dalglish says. and being a lawyer – even a former lawyer – means he can certainly spread the word. in Dubai, he visited schools run by Beacon education to talk about his gap-year project. “it is offered to students transitioning from secondary school to university. many students from all over the world take a year off during this time, to do something ‘different’, something they would most likely not have the opportunity to do again. The schools i work with offer gap-year students the opportunity to truly give back and to work one-on-one with impoverished students. The gap-year students live and work at the schools where they receive full board,” he says. Being wealthy is not always an advantage, according to Dalglish. “These kids cannot help that they were

born into wealthy families. it is up to me, and others like me, to show them that there is a different path in life than that of a corner office and a BmW. even if my volunteers do not become full-time advocates, at least i have exposed them to the realities of life. “it does not have to be a year, there are many students from top schools around the world that take one or two months over their summer holidays,” he says. What about the future? “i have an entire team who support my foundations based in Canada while i am in nepal. They are self-sustaining, and do not need my constant attention. i am not worried about the fate of my work at the various schools in Kathmandu and Bangkok. i have worked with so many students and adults over the years that there is no doubt that i have inspired at least one person to continue my work.”

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“we tell all our donors to track the donatIon. we gIve them an audIted report on benefIcIarIes then you can see the results.”
even more supportive. The government of Saudi arabia started with one country. now they are in the Horn of africa, in lebanon, in Palestine… When they tour it, they believe in it more and more. People are really in need. and we are not just providing food but building their future as well – building schools, building roads. You can choose which country to support, which project. We know money is always needed,” Habib says. “We only talk about the donation if there is an approval from the donor. and it is not to brag but to give an example. it shows others how to show support. many people who give money also like to keep it confidential. We try to tell them sometimes that it is not about showing off but about transparency. it is a religious belief that you do not brag about what you give. and it is a personal thing. Sometimes they don’t want people to know, it is about a conviction to help,” she says.

TRANSPARENT gIVINg
all this talk also helps another cause – it answers all questions about the funds while helping people understand what actually goes on. “The organisations have to tell what goes into their overheads so the donor is clear. not only is that a criteria for our department but the donor can also require proof and an audited report about

how the money was spent,” Castek says. it benefits both. “it works both ways. We like to tell people that the first food they may have had in weeks comes, if not from a particular individual, then from, say, the people of Dubai. it is a human bond, to be able to come to another’s aid,” says Habib. on the other hand, it keeps the organisations accountable. “We owe it to the donor to tell them where the money is going. We give them a report on beneficiaries. it is all a transparent procedure. We tell all our donors that your donation should be registered. Track your donation. Then you can see the results,” she says. agencies will tell you in fils-specific terms and percentages about your donation. WFP proudly says that it uses only seven per cent of what you give for administration, while UnoPS sets their expenditure at between five and six per cent. “all our acitivities are for charity. if there is any money needed for administration our steering committee members donate it. So if we have raised two million dollars from an event, all of it goes to the fund,” says awada. a word of caution, though. “There is an error in oversimplifying overheads. Sometimes you might think that it is being spent on administration. But if you need to open a school in an area where there are no roads to deliver the bricks, the costs will go up. The best answer is to be involved in the process. it is about being able to decide according to the situation,” Habib adds. and the involvement is not only monetary. it is about communication. “You can give expertise and resources. For instance, if we have a project for opening a school, we might take help from the donor in finding experts who can design the curriculum. if that is their area of expertise, they would immediately be able to solve the problem,” alzubaidi says. in the world of good deeds, there is a lot of give and take, on both sides. n

Dubai Aid and Humanitarian City includes 30 international non-governmental organisations supporting a variety of humanitarian causes ranging from emergency aid and relief to people with special needs, education, women and children. These organisations also accept donations. For information about donation opportunities with DAHC-registered charities, contact the donor assistance department on +971-4-3680709. The charities licensed by the UAE’s Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department for fundraising events are: Al Maktoum Foundation Mohammed bin Rashid Charitable Humanitarian Foundation Beit Al Khair Society Dubai Charity Association Dar Maktoum Foundation Sultan Khalifa Al Habtoor Charity Red Crescent Society Al Shifa Charity Establishment Tel: +971 4 3988668 Tel: +971 4 2278777 Tel: +971 4 2675555 Tel: +971 4 2682000 Tel: +971 4 3523333 Tel: +971 4 3523388 Tel: +971 4 2614800 Tel: +971 4 3366585 Fax: +971 4 3984700 Fax: +971 4 2276777 Fax: +971 4 2670762 Fax: +971 4 2682292 Fax: +971 4 3528286 Fax: +971 4 3595363 Fax: +971 4 2614900 Fax: +971 4 3366550

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