The National Archives highlights the aspects of Zayed’s Humanitarian Giving.. Sheikh Zayed.. The International Humanitarian Action Pioneer

The National Archives highlights the aspects of Zayed’s Humanitarian Giving.. Sheikh Zayed.. The International Humanitarian Action Pioneer

The National Archives highlights the aspects of Zayed’s Humanitarian Giving.. Sheikh Zayed.. The International Humanitarian Action Pioneer

The first perspective of the Founding Leader Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, upon his accession was characterized by its humanitarian nature as it was focusing on the suffering of people. After he received the first comprehensive report on Abu Dhabi’s financial status few days after becoming the ruler of Abu Dhabi, which was promising, he sent the palace staff to the poor areas in the city to invite them to the ruler’s Majlis. Such an invitation had not been sent before to those poor people who used to be completely isolated from the ruling elite. He received and welcomed the citizens and gave each one of them an amount of money that was equal to the amount of money each one of them get in a complete year. He advised them to spend it wisely on their families. Then people flocked to the Majlis. The palace staff were touring the city in search of more of the needy people. After that, his generous hand reached out to the Bedouin areas. Thousands of people came to the palace and each one of them passed by Sheikh Zayed to receive his financial gift. This was happening for one full week and no one reached the palace and left it empty-handed. Sheikh Zayed distributed about $20 millions.
The UAE’s National Archives showed great interest in the humanitarian action in the thought of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Therefore, it has always been doing its best to document many aspects in his humanitarian actions in its publications, especially in the book of (Zayed, Man Who Built a Nation) which presents Sheikh Zayed’s humanitarian attitudes. In this respect, (Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Economic Development) was established to finance the development projects in the needy Arab countries. The Fund was the main declared Emirati institution to provide aids. The Fund’s business expanded after its establishment so it adopted projects in Africa and Asia. Sheikh Zayed enlarged the Fund’s capital to US$ 4.4 billion, which enabled the Fund to increase its activity level so it granted aids and soft loans distributed among more than 50 projects between 1974 and 1975 including thirty-one projects in the Arab World, 10 projects in Africa and 9 projects in Asia. Sheikh Zayed was keen on the good management of the Fund and had written off some debts many times provided that they should not be announced in the media. Attention was focused on the infrastructure projects that promote people’s life.
After his return from Sudan in 1972, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan expressed sympathy for it and its people. Abu Dhabi Fund provided support and assistance to reduce the Sudanese people suffering from war and drought so he supported their projects of agriculture and infrastructure. Abu Dhabi’s support to Sudan had revived its economy.
When providing assistance, Sheikh Zayed did not pay attention to the country’s name or the people’s race. Simply, that indicated his commitment to provide support as evidenced by the support provided for Sri Lanka when its government requested financial assistance from the Fund to modernize its fishing operations, on which about 72,000 people depend.
Sheikh Zayed believed that Abu Dhabi’s wealth had made its duty to provide assistance wherever he could whether internally or externally since such wealth had promoted the UAE’s reputation in the international community. Sheikh Zayed used to sympathize deeply with ordinary people in the hard times. Thus, he realized the suffering of the Palestinians so he supported their case through providing assistance to finance relief and medical aids in camps. Wherever you go across the Palestinian territories, you would find schools and hospitals under his name and there are many others, which do not carry his name but thanks to his generous hands for establishing them.
Sheikh Zayed commiserated with the ordinary people who suffered from the scourge of war; however, his humanitarian feelings were obvious when he expressed his pain over children suffering. Hence, he strived to treat their injuries and relieve their pains. In 1973, Sheikh Zayed ordered the officials in his government to start providing assistance to Syria and Egypt without being broadcasted in media. Hundreds of injured, especially children, were brought by airplanes from Syria to hospitals in Abu Dhabi and Europe to have the required medical care.
In mid 1990s, the (Guinea Worm) disease spread as an epidemic disease in Pakistan, India and Yemen. The worm infected vast areas of Africa, especially the desert areas. Sheikh Zayed took upon himself to donate money in support of the efforts to fight the Guinea Worm disease known also as the fiery serpent. As a result, fresh water sources were made available and people avoided the polluted water, which was the cause of the spread of such disease.
The UAE under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed stood by Kuwait when it was invaded by providing it with all types of support, especially the humanitarian support. After its liberation, Sheikh Zayed ordered to send medical teams and gave his directions to promptly provide Kuwait with drinking water and electricity generators to be distributed to Kuwaiti citizens and residents. The UAE was also generous to her Kuwaiti guests.
Somalia received aids and relief from the UAE at the beginning of the 1990s to be distributed among the needy people. In Yemen, Sheikh Zayed was considered as the spiritual father and his giving was always present there.
After Sheikh Zayed issued his directives for providing aids and reliefs to the countries that faced natural disasters regardless of religion or belief, or whether or not the country was an ally of the UAE, the UAE extended aids to Iran upon the massive earthquake, which hit Ardabil Province in 2003, which made 40,000 people homeless. Therefore, the UAE sent humanitarian aids consist of thousands of tents and ten thousands of blankets, stoves and torches as well as tons of children essentials such as food, clothes and medicines.
Sheikh Zayed could not tolerate to see any disabled, whether physically or mentally, subjected to social and traditional restrictions. One day, while he was driving his car on the Airport Road in Abu Dhabi he found himself amid a severe traffic jam around a building. He got off his car to  discover the reason he was told that the cars blocking the road belong to parents of disabled children who came to collect their disabled center and that the center was on the 10th floor and the elevator was out of order. Thus, he promptly ordered to allocate an appropriate building for those children. Later, he visited the new building and provided them with care.
In 1990s, Sheikh Zayed and his government gave the Bosnian Government millions of dollars. The UAE government extended financial assistance to revive the projects of social emergency and hospitals in the besieged capital, Sarajevo.
According to the estimates, the UAE had spent more than $17,4 billion on external assistance during the period between 1971 and 1996 which benefited more than 40 countries in three continents.
That was a tip of the iceberg since it is difficult to calculate all Sheikh Zayed’s charitable and humanitarian contributions.
Sheikh Zayed received medals and appreciation awards for his great activities in charity and humanitarian efforts. These medals and awards act as testimony before the world to his humanitarian and charitable giving. They include the Document Gold from the International Organization for Foreigners in Geneva in 1985 as the most important figure in that year in appreciation of his significant role in humanitarian works. Dubai International Holy Quran Award selected him as the Islamic Personality for the Year 1999 for his care of the social and humanitarian program, his support to the Islamic collaboration in all fields, and for the establishment of private projects programs and Islamic charitable, cultural and educational activities programs and for the provision of aids to disaster victims.
Sheikh Zayed received most of the awards and medals which stand as testimonial to his great activities in the fields of charity, humanitarian works and development.