Nearly $10m was raised in the space of a few hours at a charity auction in support of the UAE’s 100 Million Meals campaign - the first and largest of its kind in the Arab region, which aims to deliver food aid to 30 countries during Ramadan.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were pledged for pieces by world famous artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali. But the biggest ticket item was a painting by UAE-based Sacha Jafri, which sold for $4.2m.
Clothes worn by Jafri while creating his Guinness World Record-beating giant canvas, The Journey of Humanity, which recently raised $62m for education NGO Dubai Cares, generated a further $450,000.
Meanwhile, a piece of gold and silver embroidery from the Kiswa, the cloth used to cover the Kaaba at the heart of the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia, which was donated by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was bought for $2.7m by an anonymous bidder.
The proceeds of the auction will be donated to the 100 Million Meals campaign. Launched at the start of Ramadan by UAE nonprofit Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), it set out to raise $27m (AED100m) to pay for the equivalent of 100 million meals in 20 countries across the Middle East and Africa during the holy month.
The campaign is an extension of the 10 Million Meals initiative, which was launched in Ramadan last year. Its aim then was to support people in the UAE who had lost their incomes due to the Covid-19 pandemic and who were unable to break their fast at free community iftars due to restrictions on social gatherings.
In the first week of this year’s appeal, more than $21.2m was collected, prompting organisers to announce the campaign would expand to a further 10 countries, including Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Brazil.
The campaign then went on to reach its $27m target within just 10 days, thanks to more than 185,000 individual and corporate donations. With the proceeds from the auction, the total amount raised at the time of writing exceeds $37m.