• 26 February 2009

A Dubai Cares aid shipment finally reached Palestinian children in Gaza today, capping the charitable establishment’s “Volunteer for the Children of Gaza” campaign launched in January during the recent war.  His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, ordered that his private plane carry the cargo to Cairo on February 9th with a technical crew from Dubai Cares to facilitate the transportation of the shipment to the Gaza borders. Today, after almost 18 days of intense negotiations, a 14 truck convoy was allowed passage through the borders into the Gaza Strip.

The shipment includes the school and hygiene kits assembled by more than 8,500 UAE residents who participated in the “Volunteer for the Children of Gaza” initiative at the Dubai International Financial Centre. International aid agencies based in Gaza will begin immediate distribution of aid to the children.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Chairperson of the Dubai Cares Board of Directors, said: “Dubai Cares owes the success of this mission to the residents of the UAE who volunteered their time and energy to help the people of Gaza.  This achievement truly reinforces the spirit of commitment within our community. Much gratitude is also owed to our UAE Embassy in Cairo who helped with the facilitation as well as many other significant players who were instrumental in ensuring that this shipment finally reaches those who greatly deserve it. ”

The Dubai Cares shipment also includes child-friendly foldable modular school facilities which comprise 11 classrooms, 2 bathrooms for boys and girls and an administration room. Occupying approximately 800 square meters of land, the schools will accommodate up to 440 students and can be assembled within a total of 8 hours.

Her Excellency added: “During the recent 22-day war, much of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure has been destroyed, leaving thousands of the Occupied Territory’s children without access to education.  Reconstruction of the area’s infrastructure will take time, further postponing children’s return to school.  With these foldable schools, Dubai Cares is providing an immediate solution for the children, offering them the opportunity to resume their educational development without delay. We are also hoping that they take some comfort in knowing that the people of the UAE came together to prepare school bags for them, which includes toys and coloring pencils as well as hygiene kits. They are certainly not alone. ”

Each classroom is fully equipped with desks, chairs and blackboards and is designed to include 6 windows and 2 doors to provide sufficient lighting and proper ventilation. The modular units are built from water and fire proof materials to ensure the safety and protection of the children.

The Dubai based charitable establishment is also supplying a 4,000 litre water tower on the school premises to provide children immediate and easy access to clean water. The bathrooms will also be fully equipped with hand-washing basins to offer the children a complete and proper sanitation facility.

More than 1,300 people were killed and over 5,000 injured in the fighting in Gaza, one of the most densely populated places in the world.  According to the latest United Nations estimates, Palestinian children account for approximately one out of every three persons killed and much of the Occupied Territory’s infrastructure has been decimated.

Dubai Cares is the world’s largest charitable establishment solely devoted to improving primary education for underprivileged children. Its emergency interventions – which to date include interventions in Chad, Myanmar and Ethiopia - stems from its philosophy that guaranteeing the continuity of children’s education is as important as ensuring their physical well being.

For more information visit www.dubaicares.ae

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