On the occasion of World Water Day (22 March 2014), Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic organization working to improve children’s access to quality primary education in developing countries, has underscored how a respect for, and access to natural resources such as water, is a key factor in ensuring holistic and impactful education.
Commenting on the importance of the day, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: “Education goes beyond numeracy and literacy; it is also about nurturing respect in children for the environment and our natural resources. In several developing countries we work in, water is a precious resource and children often walk long distances to collect water for their families. As part of our commitment to raising a responsible and globally-aware generation, we strive to foster a healthy respect for the value of our natural resources and the effect it has on development.”
Dubai Cares works in countries with chronic deficiencies in general infrastructure and help local communities overcome the hurdles that prevent children from attending school and learning. To combat absenteeism and drop-outs due to incidences of waterborne related diseases, Dubai Cares has also rolled out WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programs in countries such as Mali, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. WASH programs provide basic low-cost water and sanitation infrastructure to ensure a healthy and adequate learning environment. It also focuses on hygiene promotion in both the school and the community to ensure behavior change over the long term.
Concluding his remarks on the occasion, Al Gurg said: “WASH is about educating children on health and hygiene, and how this plays an important role in their development as productive individuals. Through our programs, not only have we have raised awareness about the relevance of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools but have also been vital in promoting effective hygiene practices in schools and communities in order to reduce the spread of disease, improve school enrollment and attendance as well as improve academic achievement.”
Dubai Cares was established in 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to provide children in developing countries - regardless of their gender, nationality, creed or religion – access to quality primary education. To date, Dubai Cares has reached more than 8 million children in 31 developing countries.