Over 3,500 residents from across the UAE took part today in Walk for Education 2012, walking 3-kms along Jumeirah Beach Road in solidarity with children in developing countries with limited or no access to quality primary education. The 3-kms are symbolic of the average distance millions of children around the world have to walk to go to school.
Organized by Dubai Cares, founded in 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Walk for Education 2012 is part of a series of local initiatives by the philanthropic organization to engage the UAE community in support of improving children’s access to quality primary education worldwide.
Commenting on the initiative, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, said: “This is the third year Dubai Cares organizes such a walk and each year the response from the UAE community continues to grow. I personally want to thank our sponsors, volunteers, donors and participants for continuing to support our efforts to provide children in developing countries access to quality primary education.”
Led by H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, Chairperson of Dubai Cares and UAE Minister of State, today’s walk was held against the backdrop of chronic deficiencies in primary education in developing countries. Currently, 69 million children are out of school . 150 million drop out before completing five years of education, the minimum level required for basic literacy .
Al Gurg added: “Apart from the lack of schools or poor infrastructure and malnutrition and disease, a major obstacle preventing children from going to school is the long, and often, unsafe distances they have to walk. With the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, the support of the UAE community and in coordination with our global partners, Dubai Cares will continue to tackle these issues with the aim of freeing children, their families and communities, from the cycle of poverty.”
In addition to the participants, over 200 volunteers were on hand to ensure the event’s success.
Sanjay Verma, 34, a resident of Dubai, said: “This year everyone was talking about this walk – I heard about it at work and my children found out about it at school. I came here today with my family and co-workers and had a wonderful time. Dubai Cares should be commended for organizing this event and uniting the community in support of such a worthy cause.”
Mohammed Yousuf, 17, a UAE National, said: “Dubai Cares puts a lot of effort to come up with different ways people in the UAE can get involved and make a difference. I know a lot of people are always looking for ways to help and Dubai Cares, I feel, is really in touch with the community. My experience volunteering for the walk has been great and I will definitely be back for the next opportunity to support Dubai Cares.”
The walk was followed by activities for adults and children in Jumeriah Beach Park. The Dubai Cares Walk for Education 2012 was sponsored by The First Group (main sponsor) and Arabian Radio Network (media sponsor); organizing partners: Dubai Ambulance, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police and Roads and Transport Authority; supporting sponsors: PepsiCo and Pro League Committee; and, in-kind donors: Ahdaaf Sports Club, Al Maya Group, Choithrams, DJ Bliss, Dubai Drums, Dubai Police Band, Frenzy Entertainment Services, Lacnor, Nestle, Prisme International, Tiffany and Valtarans.