Last year's award went to Moroccan Italian Nawal Al Sufi, who helped over 200,000 refugees arriving on Italy's shores
An Egyptian man who helps homeless people in Egypt rebuild their lives has been granted this year’s AED1 million Arab Hope Maker award.
Mahmoud Wahid, chairman of Together to Save a Human, was awarded the prise by Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed, who also granted the four other finalists the same amount for their work, in a surprise move at the ceremony.
Through his foundation, Wahid, 34, provides homeless people with food, medical care and space to bathe. So far, the charity has been funded by public donations.
In line with the award, Sheikh Mohammed announced the launch of the Arab Hope Makers Academy, which will have a budget of AED50m to support Arab philanthropist projects.
“Through [the academy], we will support hope makers in the Arab world and turn their personal projects into sustainable humanitarian initiatives,” he said on his official Twitter account.
“Investing in the hope industry is the best, noblest and most beautiful investment in our Arab world today. We want to create hope for millions of young Arabs to have a role in their societies,” he added.
The ceremony was headed by a number of musical performances from Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf, Hatem Al Iraqi, Fouad Abdel Wahed and Ahmad Gamal.
Other finalists included Egyptian journalist Nawal Mustafa, who was recognised for helping former female prisoners reconstruct their lives and find jobs.
Kuwaiti Manal Al Maslam, who lost her child in a drowning incident, was also recognised for helping refugees and low-income families cope with grief, while former Iraqi beauty queen Siham Jarjis was nominated for taking part in building houses for over 15,000 widows and children in Iraq.
Sudanese Fares Ali was awarded for his fight against child hunger, where he distributed up to 40 million sandwiches to over 123 schools in Sudan.
The Arab Hope Makers award was launched by Sheikh Mohammed in 2016 to identify Arabs partaking in exceptional humanitarian work.
Last year's award went to Moroccan Italian Nawal Al Sufi, who helped over 200,000 refugees arriving on Italy’s shores.