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Mohammed Bin Rashid launches 'Noor Dubai' to revive the gift of sight for one million blind

posted on 04/09/2008: 1428 views

HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid AL Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday launched a new Ramadan initiative, under the name 'Noor Dubai', aiming to help the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in achieving its goals outlined in VISION 2020: the Right to Sight Noor Dubai will treat and provide health services to one million people suffering from treatable blindness and visual impairment in developing countries on a local, regional, and international scale.

Dubai Health Authority will be in charge of implementing the Noor Dubai agenda in collaboration with two leading international organizations: Lions Clubs International, the world's largest volunteer organization with an international network of 1.3 million members in 202 countries, and ORBIS International, a global development organization whose mission is to treat and prevent blindness by strengthening the capacity of local eye health partners.

The initiative was announced at the Madinat Jumeirah today by HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Event Management Corporation, in the presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The event, which marks the Holy Month of Ramadan, was attended by a number of dignitaries, government officials, diplomats, businessmen and the media.

Speaking on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed said: 'Ramadan is indeed a month of generosity, charity and compassion. The people of the UAE have a long tradition of giving, particularly during this holy period when they earnestly seek to be closer to God.

'It is inherent of the Emirati people to do what they can to support those that are most in need. This is a crucial tenet of the Islamic principles that advocate social equality. Our religious duties extend beyond the pillars of our faith and include the values of loyalty, honesty, and the service of land and nation.' The Noor Dubai initiative follows the unprecedented success achieved by the Dubai Cares campaign, which was launched last year with an overarching goal of providing primary education to one million underprivileged children around the world.

Applauding the people of Dubai for their unstinting contribution to the success of Dubai Cares, HH Sheikh Ahmed said: 'To date, in less than one year, Dubai Cares has provided education to over four million children in 13 countries across Africa and Asia, far exceeding its original targets.

'Dubai Cares represents the UAE's contribution to a global drive to fulfil the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals for education. A well recognized and respected NGO, Dubai Cares joins the ranks of established, global humanitarian champions, united in their commitment of helping needy children the world over to overcome the obstacles that continue to thwart their development.'

Offering Noor Dubai as a gift from the UAE to the world, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid said the initiative has been inspired by HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who leads by example in mitigating the plight of the needy in the developing world.

Providing details on the ambitious initiative, he informed: "Noor Dubai aims to deliver preventive eye care to over one million people as part of its drive to realize 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.

'Just as Dubai Cares has become a beacon of hope and inspiration to many countries and international organizations, let us all come together to collectively work to ensure Noor Dubai becomes another catalyst towards a bigger international commitment to cure eye diseases and protect children from preventable forms of blindness.' In addition to the UAE, Noor Dubai will reach out to people in a number of countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine.

Through its programmes, 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 representing 48 per cent of the total number of blind people; Strabismus that affects over 5 per cent of children worldwide; and Corneal opacities which is responsible for the blindness of 4.9 million people.

Noor Dubai will give equal importance to preventative and awareness programmes in the UAE and outside, for raising the common man's understanding on the importance of these two approaches in the prevention of blindness. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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