Dear Dubai Cares Supporters,
First and foremost, on behalf of Dubai Cares, I would like to thank you for your strong and unwavering support of Dubai Cares over the years.
In 2013, we achieved so much by working hand-in-hand with partners and humanitarian agencies around the globe to achieve our shared aim of eradicating poverty through education. Your support has been instrumental in helping us extend quality primary education to more than 1.2 million children in 2013 alone, providing them with the opportunity to build a path towards progress and prosperity.
As we begin 2014, it is time again to plan and look forward to another busy and productive year. To plan ahead, we need to look back and reflect on the past year, to learn from our triumphs and challenges over the course of the past 12 months.
Our work in 2013 laid the foundation for positive change in the years to come – we launched 14 new programs, which will offer children and adults in developing countries the tools to break the cycle of poverty. In addition, due to our continuous monitoring and evaluation efforts, five ongoing programs exceeded their expected results, helping over 550,000 children and adults. We also concluded 13 programs in our portfolio following their successful implementation and adoption in their respective beneficiary countries. These include long-term programs such as the five-years long SHIKHON program in Bangladesh with Save the Children; and the four-years long WASH-in-School program in Indonesia with UNICEF, Save the Children and CARE International.
Although our mandate stipulates that our work focuses on developing countries, we appreciate the deeply ingrained culture of giving prevalent at home. In 2013 alone, we marshalled approximately 400 of our local volunteer force for four community activities that saw them channel their energies and time towards understanding and promoting the importance of a safe, secure and motivating learning environment. Four editions of Volunteer Emirates 2013 provided them the chance to improve the learning environments of local nonprofit schools, carrying out activities such as landscaping and painting work, assembling and installing chairs, tables and new playground and classroom toys, as well as providing new sports and music equipment, etc. Also, the Walk for Education 2013, our annual walk in solidarity with the children who walk an average of 3 km a day to go to school, attracted 5500 participants out of which 200 were volunteers.
As part of our mission to play a key role in the global debate on the future of education and development, we participated in the meetings held alongside the 68th UN General Assembly in New York in September. Dubai Cares also hosted two international gatherings in Dubai to promote cross-learning among practitioners from around the world and discuss best practices - the second official meeting of the Learning Metrics Task Force as well as the Home Grown School Feeding Learning workshop.
Our fundraising initiatives were diverse yet impactful – these included three key fundraising events: one is the Dubai International Film Festival charity gala, another is the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience, and the third is The Citizens Foundation - Dubai Cares Gala Dinner. These three events gave us tremendously powerful platforms and helped us highlight the importance of education for future generations to a global and diverse audience. In addition, our “End Poverty. Educate Now” Ramadan Campaign brought us immense support from the UAE community.
Dubai Cares also developed a number of partnerships with private sector enterprises as well as local associations in 2013. These focused not just on raising funds, but also on generating awareness and further support for the critical work we do in developing nations.
Although much has been accomplished, we still have more to do. According to the United Nations, at present, 250 million children cannot read, write or count well and 55 million children have no access to education. In our journey towards ending poverty by arming children with education, your robust endorsement of Dubai Cares will be instrumental in ensuring that no child is left behind. To roll-out successful programs, incorporating industry best practices, a community of invested individuals and corporations is imperative.
We look forward to your continued endorsement and co-operation into the New Year.
Tariq Al Gurg
Chief Executive Officer