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Food Security and Innovation ProgramAs the world encounters one issue after another, food insecurity increases in countries with inadequate resources or less-than sufficient agriculture systems. With the pandemic at the helm and climate change an ongoing phenomenon, to survive these stressful times, innovative strategies are necessary. In this advanced society, new ways are necessary to process, distribute and reshape food production. Connections between food security and innovation seem far-fetched, but the United Arab Emirates/UAE’s food security and innovation program has found state-of-the-art techniques that relieve their people of this struggle.

Key Constraints Facing Food Security

The UAE aims to rank in the top 10 in the Global Food Security Index by 2021, and number one by 2051. In this arid region, however, traditional farming is next to impossible from limited water for irrigation and an unequal ratio between people and the UAE’s production. Due to these hardships, the country is reliant on its imports. For a food-dependent country, when disaster hits, food systems are unstable.

While there are several reasons for poor food production in the UAE, the scarcity of water contributes heavily. Most of the water in the country is recycle and reused, but this process can only occur for a given amount of time. Given that traditional agriculture utilizes a significant amount of water, UAE’s food security and innovation program is the answer. . To combat the issue of their unstable food system, the UAE has set up the FoodTech Challenge. This global competition seeks out innovative solutions for the country to address food production and distribution.

Vertical Farming: An Innovative Farming Technique

In response to the FoodTech Challenge, the company Smart Acres has provided a technique that utilizes vertical farming to support the UAE’s food security and innovation program. Vertical farming consists of vertically stacked plants, providing more produce per square area, resembling green walls as displayed in shopping centers. Smart Acres used South Korean vertical farming technology to decrease water usage and monitor temperature and nutrients. Regarding the UAE’s water issue, vertical farms save over 90% of the water in comparison to conventional farming methods. The constant flow of water across the plants provides the necessary nutrients for all the plants to grow. This high-tech design allows the company to produce clean crops without any chemicals and negligible interference.

Although the farm has not been implemented yet, this form of food production is expected to produce 12 cycles of crops annually; the farm will expand from Abu Dhabi to the rest of the country gradually. By using vertical farming, this technique expects to produce approximately 8,000 kilograms of lettuce and other leafy greens per cycle. In addition to the increased number of crops, the variety is also expected to increase and include items, such as strawberries, arugula, potatoes, etc.

Aquaculture Farming: Decreasing the Dependence of Imports

On average, the UAE consumes 220,000 tons of fish annually. However, imported food is 90% of the UAE’s diet, suggesting that advancements in the country’s aquaculture would be beneficial. To aid the seafood industry in the UAE, the Sheikh Khalifa Marine Research Center has taken the responsibility to use advanced technology to harvest marine organisms. The center utilizes photo-bioreactors to generate food for juvenile fish.

In addition to manufacturing primary live food for marine organisms, UAE’s food security and innovation program also include water recycling technologies, where water is cycled through fish tanks to reduce water consumption. To make aquaculture a more efficient and sustainable system in the country, the center is establishing a disease diagnostic laboratory, which will reduce the number of disease-related deaths associated with marine life.

While many countries face tumultuous times currently, UAE’s food security and innovation program seems to be a ticket out of poverty. Through the FoodTech Challenge, the country has found multiple viable options to strengthen its food system. With water scarcity, a large problem regarding food production, both vertical and aquaculture farming, has found a way to recycle the limited water and attend to other problems the UAE faces, such as dependence on imports from other countries. The challenge is open to the entire country, increasing the country’s opportunity in establishing a sustainable system. Through these systems, the UAE’s food security and innovation program is well on its way to stabilizing its food security and achieving its goal as a titleholder in the Global Food Security Index.

Aditi Prasad
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Education in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates started focusing on building a modern, mass-scale education system after its independence from Britain in 1971. In the past 50 years, the country revolutionized its education system aligning itself both with a modern and Western approach. Below are eight facts about education in the United Arab Emirates.

8 Facts About Education in the United Arab Emirates

  1. The UAE achieved universal education which was part of its ‘Education for All’ initiative, thus focusing on a new challenge for its UAE Vision 2021, that is, quality education. Its primary goal is to create a ‘first-rate education system,’ intended to enable students in the UAE to rank among the best in the world in the fields of mathematics, reading and science. To achieve this, the government proposes a transformation of the education system and intends to use Smart systems and devices as a basis for new teaching methods. In doing so, the UAE aligns its own national agenda to the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to achieve quality education as its Target 4.
  2. The UAE now focuses on ways to develop the economy outside the hydrocarbons sector and sees education as the key to do so. The core mission of the Ministry of Education’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021 is to develop an education system adapted to generate a high-skilled and knowledge-based competitive economy. The founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, stated that the “greatest use that can be made of wealth is to invest it in creating generations of educated and trained people… [T]he prosperity and success of the people are measured by the standard of their education”.
  3. Literacy is a powerful tool against poverty, and the literacy rate in the UAE has increased from 54 percent among adult men and 31 percent among adult women in 1975 to almost 95 percent for both genders in 2019. Besides this considerable improvement, the government is now working on increasing the inclusivity of the education system to migrant workers too, in order to further close the wealth gap in the UAE.
  4. The education system in the UAE comprises both private and public education. Public education, from primary school through university, is free for all Emirati citizens and is entirely funded by the government. The primary language of instruction is Arabic and English is often taught as a secondary language. Public school enrollment is also accessible to non-UAE citizens, provided they pay a tuition fee, however, only 26 percent of the total enrolled students in the UAE are enrolled in public schools.
  5. Approximately 74 percent of students are enrolled in private schools, representing a huge part of the education system. This is mostly due to the transient nature of the expatriate population that opts for international schools. There is an increasing demand for private-sector education in the UAE, and according to the Boston Consulting Group, there is an expected growth in the education market from $4.4 billion in 2017 to over $7 billion by 2023.
  6. The UAE aims to improve considerably its tertiary education system in order to retain a higher number of Emirati citizens in enrolling in tertiary degrees, as well as attract students from abroad. The UAE has an extremely high outbound student mobility ratio, as 7.1 percent of UAE nationals enrolled in tertiary degrees abroad in 2016. Moreover, its inbound mobility ratio is one of the highest in the world, attaining 48.6 percent in 2016.
  7. The UAE emphasizes the importance of inclusiveness and quality education for all and has signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol in 2006. The government strongly supports people with disabilities/special needs and has included federal laws to protect the rights of people with special, guaranteeing equal education opportunities. In addition, the UAE aims to increase the inclusiveness of special needs children in mainstream educational environments, through various initiatives and as a part of its 2020 agenda.
  8. In 2019, the UAE allocated a $2.79 billion budget to Education, representing 17 percent of its total federal budget. A part of it will go towards the establishment of an Education Support Fund to incentivize partnerships and involvement with the private sector, in order to achieve its upcoming goals and priorities.

 

These eight facts about education in the United Arab Emirates illustrate the achievements and progress made in the country’s education system and highlights the ambitious aims and goals the UAE has for the future.

Andrea Duleux
Photo: Flickr


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a small nation that consists of a federation of seven emirates along the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula. As of 2017, it is ranked as the eighth richest country in the world, mainly due to its status as a global supplier of fossil fuels. While the country is considered food secure its heavy dependence on food imports coupled with unsustainable agricultural practices and overfishing, pose unique challenges. Keep reading to learn the top 10 facts about hunger in the United Arab Emirates.

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in the United Arab Emirates

  1. In 2018, the United Arab Emirates ranked 31st in the Economist’s Global Food Security Index — in between Hungary and Saudi Arabia — with a score of 72.5 out of 100. The data showed that there has been a slight, but consistent, upward trend in food security over the past seven years in the country.  
  2. About 17 percent of children under the age of 5 in the UAE are malnourished, often resulting in stunted growth. “This figure, if compared to the Western countries, is quite high and is also significant compared to other countries in the world,” said Dr. Mohammed Miqdady, Senior Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterology at Shaikh Khalifa Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi.
  3. The economy of the UAE, and particularly the emirate of Dubai, relies heavily on the tourism industry. Many hotels and restaurants feel pressured to produce vast amounts of food for incoming tourists that often does not get eaten. Because of this, food waste is a problem in the UAE, to the extent that more than $3.54 billion worth of food is wasted in the country every year. 
  4. While the UAE is considered to be food secure, food sustainability remains an issue. Out of 67 countries ranked in the Food Sustainability Index, the United Arab Emirates ranked last in terms of overall food sustainability. The country also came in last place as it relates to food loss and waste, and eighth-to-last in terms of sustainable agriculture.
  5. Part of the problem of food sustainability stems from the lack of reliable domestic food production. Less than 5 percent of land in the United Arab Emirates is arable, and the average yearly rainfall is at only 3.85 inches per year. Because of this, nearly 90 percent of the country’s food is imported.
  6. The UAE is predicted to be one of the most vulnerable nations in the world to climate change. Experts predict that agriculture in the UAE may be affected by extreme heat, harmful insects, flooding in some areas of the country and water shortages in others. In addition, the danger of a global food crisis affecting other countries may also affect the UAE, since the country already imports most of its food.
  7. The fishing industry, that has been a consistent source of food security in the country, is on the decline. Research from the Environmental Agency in Abu Dhabi shows that 85 percent of the grouper and rabbitfish populations, two key species in the Arabian Gulf have been depleted. Other species have suffered similar depletion, including the farsh or painted sweetlips, the population of which has been reduced to 7 percent of its original size. This is assumed to be the result of rampant overfishing in the Gulf.
  8. To make matters worse for the fishing industry, many experts have begun to worry about the potential effects of global warming on fish supply in the oceans surround the United Arab Emirates. Higher temperatures and changing oxygen levels could make the ocean surrounding the UAE uninhabitable for many species. In fact, between overfishing and changing ocean climates, 30 percent of all species in the Arabian Gulf are predicted to be extinct by the end of the century. Given the importance of the fishing industry in the UAE, both the economy and the food supply of the country may be drastically affected.
  9. The UAE has turned to technology to find new solutions to an environment inhospitable to food production. One such solution is cloud seeding, a science-based process that involves encouraging water condensation and precipitation by spraying small flares of chemical compounds into the clouds. UAE meteorologists hope that cloud seeding may hold the key to increasing the country’s rainfall and making agriculture more feasible. 
  10. The United Arab Emirates has created a national plan — based on four developmental pillars — to make its way into the top 10 on the food security index by 2021. The plan includes increasing the number of agribusiness companies worldwide that involve UAE companies, improving domestic food production and reducing the amount of food waste in the country by half by 2030. The plan is also concerned with food safety and nutrition in the UAE.

If the UAE can find ways to work around the potential threats of climate change and resources being exhausted, hopefully, the country will be able to create more sustainable food sources for its citizens. 

– Keira Charles

Photo: Unsplash

Causes of Poverty in United Arab EmiratesCurrently, information on poverty in the United Arab Emirates is hard to find. A coordinator at the ministry of social affairs claimed in 2011 that the ministry was working on poverty research that would “be available by the end of 2011.”

While detailed information on poverty in the United Arab Emirates is still difficult to come by, information on the possible causes of poverty in the United Arab Emirates can be found.

Naturally, how poverty is looked at and tackled differs depending on the country, and as such it is to be expected that some of the causes of poverty in the United Arab Emirates should be unique. According to The National (a news agency focused on the Middle East), high levels of debt can be seen as one of the leading causes of poverty in the United Arab Emirates.

Ministry of Social Affairs research looks to society’s “high standards” as the most common factor of the impoverished; followed closely by the high standards of living. To maintain these “high standards,” the people in the United Arab Emirates are willing to apply for loans to help maintain a certain image of affluence.  However, “98 percent of families getting help from the Red Crescent (part of the Red Cross and Red Crescent) have loans that leave them unable to pay for essentials of living”.

It may be hard to believe that “image” can be counted as one of the causes of poverty in the United Arab Emirates. There are government programs and specialist foundations that are available to help with financial aid and support, however, according to the National, the main reason people do not ask for help is feelings of shame because “they think it is embarrassing.”

The United Arab Emirates is the second-wealthiest nation in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia.  The country gets comprised of six Emirates which are political territories ruled by a dynastic Islamic monarch called an Emir. The six Emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain and Fujairah.

With the widely known Titans of Burj Khalifa, the Mall of Dubai, Emirates Airline or how the country has 6 percent of the world’s oil reserves, it is easy to ignore the causes of poverty in the United Arab Emirates. However, with multiple people from nations such as Pakistan and India all looking to find their fortune in the country; the issue of poverty cannot afford to be forgotten or ignored.

Obinna Iwuji

Photo: Unsplash

Cost of Living in the United Arab Emirates
While people often banter about giving up their old lives and moving to a new, more exciting country, it’s important to explore the cost of living change that comes with it. It turns out that the cost of living in the United Arab Emirates, and Dubai especially, is higher than one might expect.

Business Insider ranks the United Arab Emirates as 10 points higher on the cost of living expense scale than the United States. Its closest neighbors in relation to the cost of living are countries such as the Bahamas and Norway.

This high cost of living is evident in everyday prices. For example, the average monthly rent for a 900-square-foot apartment is more than $2,654. An average lunch is $15 and a pair of jeans runs to around $82.

In comparison to the United States, even these daily expenses appear slightly steep. Going for lunch rings in around $14 and the same size apartment is estimated to be $2085. Jeans, by the same standards, cost $47.

Many people move to the United Arab Emirates for jobs in the oil industry and the country is known for its lack of income tax. Over the last 50 years, the nation has moved from being ranked 182 in the world for population size to 93. It continues to climb the ranks each year.

Surveys estimate that half of the expatriates, citizens of other countries living in the United Arab Emirates, consider moving elsewhere because of the high cost of living. They argue that their wages are remaining stagnant while the cost of living continues to rise.

Although the increased cost of living in the United Arab Emirates is a side effect of being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the country remains a huge contributor to international foreign aid.

Since its establishment, the total international aid provided by the United Arab Emirates’ government and non-government organizations is estimated to total $47.4 billion. This includes a recently strong focus on finding cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, with particular regards to solar power.

As the country continues to flourish, the cost of living in the United Arab Emirates is expected to increase, but private sector companies pay close attention and work to keep wages high enough to counteract inflation.

Emily Trosclair

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in the United Arab Emirates

Known for having one of the largest oil reserves in the world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) currently faces daunting issues with its water. Water availability and water quality in the United Arab Emirates are both areas of concern.

Because of the country’s extremely arid landscapes, water scarcity is a crucial issue, especially since the country has one of the highest rates of consumption of water per capita at 550 liters a day. The scarcity of groundwater coupled with the limited and expensive processing and treatment of existing water creates a challenging situation for the UAE. With so little water available in the area, water becomes a commodity that some predict will eventually become more expensive than oil.

The water crisis in the United Arab Emirates is a growing concern for government officials. One company even proposed a plan to bring icebergs all the way from Antarctica to the coast in order to deal with the water scarcity. Others focus on desalination plants as a solution, but desalination is an expensive and energy-intensive process. There are also risks of negative environmental impacts on the coast, and the water that these plants produce has a higher risk of oil pollution.

Two main sectors are responsible for most of the water consumption in the UAE: the private sector and the agricultural sector. The approach that these sectors take when dealing with water scarcity will be crucial to how the country deals with the water crisis.

The Private Sector

The private sector consumes about 24 percent of the UAE’s water. In such a brutally hot climate, much of the water used in private homes is because of air conditioning units, but the most important use of water is drinking water. Due to concerns about water quality in the United Arab Emirates, many people prefer to drink bottled water. Because it takes about three liters of water to make one liter of bottled water, the prevalence of bottled water greatly inflates water use on an individual level.

Contaminated water is not an imagined problem for UAE households, so it is understandable why so many choose to drink bottled water. Private water can be contaminated by old and rusty pipes filled with bacteria, and because water is often stored in tanks, there is a risk of contamination by foreign objects such as animals, insects, and metals. Since the UAE has no law to enforce the replacement of pipes or the cleaning of such tanks, water contamination is a possibility.

Despite these risks of water contamination, the water quality in the United Arab Emirates is adequate, and most experts maintain that this sort of contamination is very unlikely. In an effort to reduce unnecessary water use, many people advocate against the overuse of bottled water. They teach that bottled water and filtered tap water are almost exactly the same in quality and taste, yet there is a prevailing attitude that the water is dangerous to use or drink. The water quality is blamed for problems such as dry skin, premature aging and hair loss.

Advocates against the dependence on bottled water also warn that bottled water might have its own harmful consequences, such as the presence of fluoride, a substance still under scrutiny, and BPA, an industrial chemical that may have negative health effects on the brain and blood pressure. The environmental impact is important to consider as well since most people use the bottle once and throw it away, leading to a large amount of unnecessary and expensive waste. Even with these concerns in mind, many UAE citizens continue to rely on bottled water.

The Agricultural Sector

Though the private sector has a great deal of influence on the water availability crisis, the agricultural sector has the biggest impact and is the largest consumer of water. The agriculture sector consumes nearly two-thirds of the nation’s water. Due to the continually growing population of the UAE, there was a recent surge in demand for food, causing the UAE’s agricultural sector to have a higher demand than ever.

The agriculture industry is attempting to move away from water-intensive crops and introduce drip irrigation, and people continue to search for ways to reduce the excessive use of water in agriculture. Some have suggested an improved system of collecting and treating wastewater to use for agriculture. Wastewater processing plants are cheaper than desalination plants in part because they make use of the water already present in the system rather than relying on extracting water from the surrounding environment, but these solutions have yet to be put in place.

There are many possible ways for the UAE to address the water crisis, but along with the various proposed solutions, education about the crisis is an important step along the way. The water quality in the United Arab Emirates is only a part of the problem; the water crisis is a long-term problem that is likely to have profound impacts for decades to come. Therefore, the continued education about water scarcity and responsible water use is crucial to further efforts of reducing water consumption and working to end the water crisis.

Rachael Lind

Photo: Flickr

Adopt-A-Camp
Raising a family of 53,000 can’t be easy, but someone has to do it. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE,) the woman who does so is Saher Shaikh, the head of the Dubai-based charity Adopt-A-Camp. Directed to help some of the 5 million migrant laborers in the UAE, Adopt-A-Camp teaches laborers English lessons as well as teaches them their rights as migrant workers.

Shaikh started this organization after multiple interactions with humble and hardworking migrant workers, and realizing her possible role. Now with 52 camps across the UAE, her standards are still high, as she tells CNN, “Every camp we adopt we make bed bug-free, cockroach-free and lice-free. We physically shampoo the men’s hair ourselves,” proving to them they are just as worthy of healthy living as every other citizen of the UAE.

Over time, Shaikh has picked up some high-ranking supporters in the government, including the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Labor. Using this support, she helps ensure payment for the men’s work, something often lacking. Shaikh says, “It was a common problem during the recession, but it still happens now and again. We’d hear from the men that they hadn’t been paid for months, or even a year, and that their families were starving and they were starving. We worked with the Ministry of Labor to help them get home, or find a better job.” This allowed hopeful futures and stability for a group of men who once could barely afford bread rolls for their families.

While standards are on the rise, there are still levels of discrepancy that affect the lives of laborers. Employers are required to pay them once a month for their work, and there is a plan of action laborers can take should they not receive payment.

Nicholas McGeehan, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, looked into this and found that the laws aren’t always enforced, saying, “Theoretically, workers can take complaints to the labor courts. Theoretically, they should be able to get their salaries back, but justice is dispensed in a very ad hoc manner, if it is dispensed at all,” showing the lack of separation between government and migrant employers.

Shaikh demonstrates an unfortunately underrepresented population of compassionate people. There is an unlikely hope that Saudi businessmen will support similar initiatives that show concern for migrant workers and offer opportunities for justice.

After eight years of ongoing dedication to Adopt-a-Camp, Shaikh has managed this flourishing organization by herself, gathering members of her growing family and helping them see what they can fight for.

– Elena Lopez

Sources: CNN, Adopt-a-Camp, Saudi Gazette, Gulf News
Photo: Adopt-a-Camp

Fat_Middle_East
As life expectancy across the globe steadily increases, chronic and degenerative diseases are becoming the norm in many countries, fueled by the rapid rise of obesity due to physical inactivity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) convened in Dubai, UAE on February 23 for a two-day ‘Move for Health’ forum to address just that.

The push for the forum came following recent statistics naming the Middle East as the most unfit region for young adults, age 15 to age 29. It is also the second-most unfit region for adults and the most unfit region for women worldwide. Approximately 50% of Middle Eastern women are deemed physically inactive.

Given what people know about global inactivity trends, these statistics are not so shocking.

Physical inactivity is the fourth-leading risk factor for global mortality, accounting for 3.2 million deaths worldwide. It is also directly responsible for 27% of diabetes cases, 30% of heart diseases, and 21-25% of breast and colon cancer cases. More than 30% of people over the age of 15 are physically inactive, 28%t of them men and 34% of them women.

Given these daunting numbers, it is no surprise that physical inactivity is one of the most pressing global health challenges at present.

Among those who spoke at the forum was Dr. Ala’a Alwan, the regional director of the Eastern Mediterranean Region at the WHO. Noting the severity of the issue, Alwan reiterated the importance of making efforts to recognize physical inactivity as a public health priority by developing national awareness campaigns.

The forum also shed light on a new policy to be implemented in the UAE, as well as 34 other signatory countries. The policy follows a multi-sectoral approach and pledges to reduce physical inactivity levels by 10% by the year 2025. Included is a seven-step program targeting public education, school-wide programs, community programs, healthcare, sports awareness, urban design and transport policies.

Specifically, the policy aims at communicating to the general public the idea that physical activity is not limited to sports. It also includes any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that uses energy, from walking or cycling to dancing and swimming.

The WHO and UAE’s Ministry of Health are promoting having people exercise five days each week for 30 minutes to reduce current levels of inactivity across the globe, and in the Middle East.

– Mollie O’Brien

Photo: Niwemang
Sources:
Emirates 24/7, Zawya, World Health Organization

united_arab_emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is composed of the seven emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Located in the southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, it occupies over 83,000 square kilometers and boasts a population of 9 million.

In comparison to the rest of the world, the country is relatively young. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1971. The discovery of oil reserves in the 1960s catapulted the once impoverished region into a center of international business and wealth. Today, the UAE is the eighth richest country in the world.

The UAE’s political structure is both traditional and modern in its approach. Each emirate is led by an emir or ruler who oversees the internal political affairs of the region. Representatives from each emirate are chosen to form the Federal National Council. The President and vice president also serve as emirs of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively.

Prior to its entry into the global oil industry, the UAE’s revenues mainly stemmed from its failing pearl and fishing industry. Today, over 90 % of Emirati are literate, due to extensive investments in education, healthcare and infrastructure.

The UAE currently rates 23 out of 189 countries for ease of doing business. Its positive relationships with foreign investors have allowed the country to successfully compete in the global marketplace and exposed its citizens to the level of globalization necessary to conduct international business.

Success has also visited the neighboring countries of Iran, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia as organizations continue to promote the importance and healthcare in the region.

– Jasmine D. Smith

Sources: CIA World Factbook, BBC, Doing Business
Photo: Win Wallpapers

dubai cares_opt
Dubai Cares, a nonprofit working to improve children’s access to education in developing countries, recently launched a new campaign called “End Poverty. Educate Now” to raise awareness about the link between education and eradicating poverty.

The “End Poverty. Educate Now” campaign will run through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to raise funds to assist children worldwide by improving their access to primary education. Dubai Cares is currently reaching more than 8 million children in 31 developing countries worldwide. The campaign is building and renovating classrooms, providing clean water wells and latrines, distributing nutritious meals, and providing treatment for intestinal worms. Additionally, teachers are receiving training and millions of books are being distributed.

CEO of Dubai Cares, Tariq Al Gurg, stresses that education is one of the most important investments in breaking the cycle of poverty. Education leads to in increases in income levels and reductions in social inequalities caused by poverty.

Gurg states that this campaign seeks the support of the United Arab Emirates community in order to reduce the number of underprivileged children globally who do not have access to education, which is currently estimated to be 57 million according to UNESCO. UNESCO affirms that education is one of the best tools to combat poverty by stating that if all children in developing countries could read, global poverty rates would fall by at least 12 percent.

Dubai Cares is running this campaign by setting up an interactive stand at the Dubai Mall’s Star Atrium. The campaign is also raising funds through donations via SMS and the Internet. Visitors of the Dubai Mall will be able to make contributions while shopping or through donations boxes throughout the mall. In the atrium, there are black and white posters on tiles which show children living in destitute conditions. These images will gradually transform into a positive colored images as more people donate. These colored images represents the lives of children who are receiving the opportunity for an education.

This symbolic transformation represents the dramatic change that education can make in the lives of children and the fight against poverty.

– Rahul Shah 

Sources: The Gulf Today, Emirates Today, Gulf News
Sources: Sunny Varkey