• 6 November 2018

Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, hosted yesterday (Monday November 5, 2018) an event titled, “Empowerment through Education”, in an effort to inform, motivate and inspire its donor and supporter community in the UAE  about the instrumental role of education on societies. The event featured three speakers, which included Her Excellency Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Chairperson of Dubai Cares; Mohamed Sidibay, Education Activist and former child soldier advocating for children’s rights to quality education; and Vivian Onano, Youth Advisor to UN Civil Society Advisory Board and Youth Representative to Global Education monitoring Report. The intimate gathering of 150 key supporters and donors culminated in a Q&A session moderated by Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares.

Addressing the audience during the event, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashemi, Chairperson of Dubai Cares, said: “We as individuals within this community are privileged, so we can’t quite comprehend what it’s like not to have access to education. However we are able to witness this reality when we go to the field. It is difficult to visit a community that doesn’t have a functioning school or barely has enough space where students are queuing up to enter school. For the families in these underprivileged communities, education is not just how to read or write – education is the way out - a chance for a better life. Given that there are hundreds of millions of children who are in schools but are not learning anything and millions of children who have no access to education, we recognize that our journey is still at its beginning. There is still much work to be done and we need to do it collectively.”

“When considering an intervention, we have to be confident that the program is going to be effective and impactful. The Dubai Cares team is always on the go; designing, monitoring and evaluating programs alongside the local community, not from the comfort of their offices in Dubai. Not only that, when we aim for a prosperous future, we need to make sure that it is a collective effort by everybody, because the task at hand is massive and unless we all dedicate ourselves towards that task, it will continue to grow and become even more challenging. We need to be advocates for positive change; to create a positive impact, because the future generations deserves our best”, Her Excellency added.

The first speaker, Mohamed Sidibay, grew up in Sierra Leone during the civil war. He was orphaned, uneducated and homeless. At age 5, he witnessed his entire family being murdered and was forced to become a child soldier. At 10, he became homeless and he could neither read nor write. In 2007, at 14, he ran away in search of peace, education, and life in a community that wouldn’t judge him on the atrocities of his past, but rather help him to achieve his future aspirations. He now dedicates his life to ensuring educational access to all children regardless of where they were born. Mohamed is currently continuing his Masters in Law, which is a testament of how important he holds education in his heart. He said, "Humanitarianism is not an act done out of pity but instead having enough compassion to acknowledge that we have more similarities than differences to those we are seeking to help. It’s about finding our common humanity.”

The second guest speaker, Vivian Onano, is a Kenyan social entrepreneur and seasoned humanitarian recognized as an emerging woman leader with the courage to lead change on the African continent. She has a strong commitment to education, women economic empowerment, and leadership. Vivian has a deep interest in re-defining Africa’s growth and development, and creating an inclusive world where women and youth can play an important role. She is a graduate of Carthage College and a strategic development consultant on education, youth empowerment and employment, and women economic empowerment. 

Vivian Onano said: “Without an education, we are voiceless, powerless, and forever entangled in the cycle of poverty. This is the reality for 262 million children and youth across the world. These children are being denied an opportunity for a better life. It is within our generation to end poverty; and there is no better and faster way to do it than through access to quality, safe and reliable education.”

The event also featured a captivating sand art performance by Shaima Al Mughairy, an Omani national, who brought to life the treacherous journey children in developing countries undertake on a daily basis in their quest for education, as well as accurately depicting the solutions to these challenges through the work of Dubai Cares and other like-minded organizations.

Armani Hotel Dubai, the event’s hospitality partner, hosted generously the event as well as the speakers for the duration of their stay in Dubai.

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