Dubai ruler’s campaign to dress 1 million children hits target

A project to dress 1 million needy children during Ramadan has begun distributing clothing to refugees after raising more than AED40m ($10.9m) for its cause.

The campaign led by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid hit target just 10 days after its July 11 launch, aided by substantial pledges from companies and individuals.

“Very pleased to know today that the #Dress1MillionNeedyChildren campaign achieved the one million mark well before its deadline,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted. “Seeing people's responses and watching photos of the children receiving their clothes make us determined to always initiate such campaigns.”

The UAE Red Crescent, a partner in the campaign, has begun distributing clothes to refugees in Jordan, Yemen, Bosnia and Africa. The scheme had called for AED40m to dress impoverished children outside the UAE, at a cost of AED40 per outfit.

“Children suffering the consequences of conflicts and poverty are the most worthy of charity, and we will always do our best to support them,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

The campaign plans to target a higher number of needy children after surpassing its initial fundraising goal of AED40m. Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority and UAE telecom providers Etisalat and du pledged AED7m within days of the campaign’s launch, enough to clothe 175,000 children. Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority also made large donations.

The drive closed on the 19th day of Ramadan, July 28, marking both UAE Humanitarian Work Day and the ninth anniversary of the death of Sheikh Zayed, the country’s founding president.