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Sun 25 Nov 2007 04:19 PM

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Sheikh Mohammed doubles Dubai Cares fund

Dubai ruler pledges over $463.8mn on the final day of eight-week charity drive.

Sheikh Mohammed doubles Dubai Cares fund
Sheikh Mohammed, pictured, launched Dubai Cares in September, aimed at helping educate one million children. (Getty Images)

Dubai’s ruler said on Sunday he plans to donate over 1.7 billion dirhams ($463.8 million) to Dubai Cares, doubling the amount of money raised during the eight-week charity drive.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, made the announcement at a ceremony to mark the end of the fundraising campaign, bringing the total amount donated to around 3.4 billion dirhams.

“I am a leader. I usually lead. But why did I wait till the end? To double the budget,” he told the audience.

The final figure eclipses the 200 million dirhams that organisers said they hoped to raise when Sheikh Mohammad launched the campaign back in September.

The proceeds will go towards helping educate one million children in some of the poorest countries around the world.

The money will be used to build schools, train teachers, provide teaching materials and offer scholarships, as well as arrange feeding programmes and medical checkups for students.

The initiative is the first of its kind in Dubai and has received the backing of the emirate’s private sector, with several high profile companies and individuals making substantial donations to the cause.

Emirates airline has donated 50 million dirhams and Dubai Duty Free has pledged 20 million dirhams, while both Emaar Properties and Etisalat have contributed 25 million dirhams each.

Other contributors to the cause include Mashreq bank, the Al Ghurair Group, ETA Star, local businessman Mohammad Juma Al Naboodah, Dubai World Chairman Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, and Speaker of the Federal National Council Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair.