Dubai orphanage project nears funding target

Family Village, an initiative of Dubai government, will include 16 villas hosting orphaned children

Nearly AED150m ($40.1m) has been raised in support of a home for orphans and abandoned children in Dubai, the first project of its kind in the Gulf emirate.

Family Village, an initiative of Dubai government department Awqaf and Minor Affairs Foundation (AMAF), will include 16 villas, each able to host up to 10 children. The project is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2015.

“We have almost completed the target amount [of funding] of AED150m,” Tayeb Al Rais, secretary-general of AMAF, told Philanthropy Age. “The beauty of this village is that it is an endowment project. One third [of the funding] has gone into the villas themselves. The other two-thirds will go into an endowment to generate funds to support the village.”

The project was initially designed with 10 properties, but this increased to 16 when the area of land donated by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was twice as large as first expected, at 2,500 sq m. The endowment allocation of AED102m will support the operation costs of the village, to include schooling, resident nurses and staff to care for the children.

The village is expected to offer a temporary home to children in need, before foster homes can be found for them in the UAE.

“Orphans have been, and will be, part of any society and any community in the world,” said Al Rais. “When children come in they need a place, a safe haven for them to start.”

The project recently received a AED3m donation from the family of Abd Alsalam Rafee. The funds will provide for the cost of building and equipping one of the village’s 16 villas – to be named in his honour – and will contribute to the cost of Family Village’s main office.

AMAF is responsible for looking after the interests of the more than 2,600 minors in Dubai, to include orphans, abandoned children and children with special needs.