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Tue 15 Jan 2019 03:45 PM

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First Abu Dhabi Dream Ball aims to educate over 5,000 refugee children

Inaugural event held in benefit of UNICEF to provide children with access to learning, skills development and opportunities to empower their future

First Abu Dhabi Dream Ball aims to educate over 5,000 refugee children

Sawtouna, a collection of individuals in Abu Dhabi committed to making a difference in the region through philanthropic activities, will host a glamorous fundraising evening in support of UNICEF at Emirates Palace on January 31.

The Abu Dhabi Dream Ball is held under the patronage of HE Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development, and hosted by Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.

The inaugural event will see 500 VIP guests gather for a star-studded gala dinner to help raise money for refugee children in Jordan. High-profile guests from the region include members of royal families, prominent UAE dignitaries, entertainment stars and celebrities, including TV personality Raya Abirached, Lebanese-Armenian musician and composer Guy Manoukian and UNICEF Ambassador Mona Zaki.


HE Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development

Al Kaabi said: “The UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan imagined a society where knowledge and education are both encouraged and truly valued. I am delighted to support fundraising initiatives that align with his vision to help provide education opportunities and support to children and youth in conflict-affected countries.”

Help vulnerable children

According to a UNICEF report, 84 percent of the 730,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees living in Jordan are children, and the refugee population stretches the capacity of national institutions to deliver social services to children such as education, health and child protection.

Child labour also remains a key concern in Jordan which results in a low percentage of children attending schools while many receive minimal economic returns and work at high-risk environments.

The Abu Dhabi Dream Ball aims to help 5,000 vulnerable and conflict-affected children and young people in Jordan through gender-responsive services, skills and opportunities to fulfil their rights. Funds raised at the event will go to beneficiaries through the #NoLostGeneration initiative, a concerted effort by humanitarian groups, donors and policymakers in support of children and youth affected by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

“UNICEF Gulf Area Office is thrilled by this unique partnership with Sawtouna. We hope the Abu Dhabi Dream Ball will create a groundswell of engagement and support for action to prevent a lost generation and drive broad public awareness through support in providing education and protection for Syrian refugee children affected by the conflict. With every passing day, more and more children fear their future and we have to act now not to lose an entire generation of children with all the consequences we know,” said Eltayeb Adam, UNICEF Representative in the Gulf.

Make a difference

To be hosted by TV personality Raya Abirached alongside Harper’s Bazaar Arabia’s Rosemin Madhavji, there will be a full live line-up to entertain guests throughout the evening. Performances include Lebanese-Armenian composer and pianist Guy Manoukian, Egyptian-Scottish classical musicians Sarah and Laura Ayoub, nine-year old Arabs Got Talent winner Emanne Beasha, Emirati singer Fayez Al Saeed, international singer Layla Kardan and the 55-piece Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra.


Lebanese-Armenian composer and pianist Guy Manoukian

Nadine Maalouf, founder and co-chair of Sawtouna, the entity behind the event said: “We are a group of 18 individuals who wanted to create an annual event that could make a real difference to young people’s lives in this region and was unique to the capital. UNICEF was an obvious launch year partner due to the amazing work they do for refugee children in this part of the world.”

A charity auction with prizes including a bespoke piece of artwork by French-Tunisian artist eL Seed will further help to raise funds during the night.

Maalouf added: “We decided upon the name ‘Dream Ball’ because we wanted our guests to be emotionally connected to our cause. As children we all had dreams, these may have been unrealistic such as wanting to fly a rocket to the moon but regardless they were often indulged and encouraged by our parents. The children whose lives we are touching have much simpler ambitions, they want to have access to basic education and feel protected.  By hosting this annual fundraising ball in Abu Dhabi we have the ability to really make those dreams come true.”

The inaugural Abu Dhabi Dream Ball is organised in partnership with ITP Media Group and is presented by leading fashion magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.

Tables and tickets are priced at AED50,000 for a VVIP table of 10, AED25,000 for a VIP table of 10, and AED2,500 for regular seats. To purchase tables and tickets, please visit: 800 Tickets. For more information and updates on the event, please visit: www.harpersbazaararabia.com/dreamball and/or follow @HarpersBazaarArabia on Instagram.

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