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Thu 11 Aug 2011 06:00 PM

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UAE donates $500,000 to tornado-hit US school

May tornado had wiped out classrooms, books and supplies in Missouri schools

UAE donates $500,000 to tornado-hit US school
A May tornado devastated parts of Missouri, wiping out schools across the state

A $500,000 gift from the embassy of the United Arab Emirates
to spend on laptops is the latest donation aimed at helping tornado-damaged
Missouri schools prepare to open next week.

School district officials said on Wednesday the $500,000
will help meet a goal of providing all 2,200 Joplin High School students with a
personal laptop.

The UAE embassy will donate up to another $500,000 to match
any other contributions for laptops, district officials said.

Laptops will enable students to access educational resources,
such as online textbooks, in the wake of the May 22 tornado that destroyed the
high school and two other schools while damaging half of all school buildings.

The district has a fund-raising goal of $2.7m for the
laptops, spokesman Jim Dunn said on Wednesday. Insurance funds can be tapped
for some of the funding, he said.

The May 22 tornado took 160 lives and destroyed about 30
percent of Joplin, a city of about 50,000 residents. It was the deadliest
tornado in the United States in more than 60 years.

Many other donations have been made to the schools since the tornado, ranging
from $25 by various individuals to $250,000 and $500,000 by two families, said
Melanie Dolloff, who is a volunteer helping to coordinate fund-raising for the

"It's overwhelming," Dolloff said on Wednesday.
"We have had people reaching out from all over the world."

The tornado wiped out the classrooms, books and supplies of
260 Joplin teachers, Dolloff said.

Thousands of local students will attend classes in temporary
locations in the coming school year.

Late last month, singer Sheryl Crow, a Missouri native and
former teacher, announced she would auction off her Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
Roadster and give proceeds to Joplin schools through a fund-raising foundation
in Springfield, Mo. The car is projected to bring from $50,000 to $80,000.

UAE is the world's third-largest oil exporter and has the
world's eighth largest per capita income. The UAE has used some of this wealth
to donate to various charitable causes around the world.

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happyinohio 9 years ago

As an American, I would like to say 'thank you' to the UAE for this most generous gesture. It shows that we are all members of a global community and that we can extend a helping hand to those in need, even if that hand goes half way around the globe. Wouldn't it be nice and beneficial if students from the UAE could meet students from Joplin? Let's promote understanding among all people.

Lacey 9 years ago

Thank you so much to the UAE!!! I am from Joplin and it is so nice to see such a generous gift from half way around the world. The food, clothing, supplies, etc. have been greatly appreciated and these computers will really brighten the students year while they make due with what they have left. Thanks again!