Dubai will open its pocketbooks to help blind people around the world
Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed launched a new Ramadan initiative, under the name “Noor Dubai”, aiming to help the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in achieving their goals outlined in “VISION 2020: the Right to Sight”. Noor Dubai will treat one million people suffering from curable blindness and visual impairment in developing countries.
Dubai Health Authority will be in charge of implementing the Noor Dubai agenda in collaboration with two leading international organizations: Lions Clubs International and ORBIS International. Lions Club is the world’s largest volunteer organization with network of 1.3 million members in 202 countries, and ORBIS a global development organization whose mission is to treat and prevent blindness by strengthening the capacity of local partners in eye care.
The initiative was announced at the Madinat Jumeirah yesterday by Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Event Management Corporation, in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed.
The Noor Dubai initiative follows the unprecedented success achieved by the Dubai Cares campaign, which was launched last year with the goal of providing primary education to one million underprivileged children around the world.
“Noor Dubai aims to deliver preventive eye care to over one million people as part of its drive to realise its vision of a world free from curable forms of blindness. It will endeavour to bring light to millions of people whose lives are threatened by a world of darkness,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
In addition to the UAE, Noor Dubai will reach out to people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine.
Noor Dubai will help people suffering from three major eye diseases: cataract, which is the leading cause of blindness in the world affecting 18 million people or 48 per cent of the total number of blind; strabismus that affects over five per cent of children worldwide; and corneal opacities which are responsible for the blindness of 4.9 million people.
Speaking on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Ahmed said: “Ramadan is a month of charity and compassion. The people of the UAE have a tradition of giving, particularly during this month when they earnestly seek to be closer to God.
“It is inherent in the Emirati people to do what they can to support those that are most in need. This is a crucial tenet of Islam that advocates social equality. Our religious duties extend beyond the pillars of our faith and include the values of honesty and service to the nation.”
Present on the occasion were Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince; Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler and FNC Speaker Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair among other senior officials and dignitaries.