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UAE charity leads way in Afghanistan

posted on 13/11/2001: 652 views

The refugee camps set up by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, have become a model for other nations to follow. Much credit must go to the dedicated volunteers of the Foundation. Following the directions of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister, the representatives of the foundation working in the war-ravaged country have proved that action speaks louder than words. Evidence of the charity's great work lies in a request for help from an Afghan Conflict Consortium comprising four non-government organisations from Europe: the Anatolian Development Foundation from Turkey, Diakone and Caritas from Germany and Heks from Switzerland. The Consortium, commonly called the Joint Relief Programme for Afghanistan asked the foundation for help after it had failed to move ahead with its relief programme. Ali Erogler, a representative of the Consortium, told Gulf News that they were greatly impressed with the Dubai Foundation's work in the area. "We have never seen such an organised relief camp. Now we have sought help from them to set up their relief camp comprising of 500 tents and also supervise the relief work because we don't want our efforts to go down the drain," he added. Although this high status is the result of teamwork by the Foundation, much credit must go to Abdul Rahman Obaid bin Subeh, who is in charge of the operation. He is highly regarded by the local Afghan community, the Taliban administration and the refugees in the camp as he worked alongside the labourers to peg the tents in the desert in extreme weather conditions. Credit also goes to Abdul Latif Al Banna, a volunteer, who used his connections with the local authorities to ensure the supply of relief goods to the camp. He has also done much to solve a number of issues related to security. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation has so far set up two refugee camps in Spin Boldak, about seven kilometres inside the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, near Chaman. It was the first organisation in the world to be permitted by the Taliban authorities to operate inside Afghanistan. "We decided to set up camp in this area," said Abdul Rahman Obaid bin Subeh, who is also Board Member of the Foundation, 'because this part of Afghanistan is the most neglected." Most of the refugees were coming from Kandahar and its surrounding areas which were not affected by war but which had been badly affected by a four-year-drought. Bin Subeh who works as Head of the Total Quality Control Section at the Dubai Lands Department, proved that he was the best choice for launching such a huge project as he not only launched the relief operation but kept total quality control as the camp city set up under his supervision is the best of all in the area. Due to his religious nature, leading the prayers at the base camp, and his administrative and organisational skills, Bin Subeh managed win the confidence of the Afghan people. and picked a dedicated team of Afghans to help him. Having seen the efforts of the foundation, the Taliban authorities gave a huge compound with a four-room building to the foundation. "Our work has been so much appreciated that the Afghan Authorities have now asked the Foundation to set up another camp in the Hilmand area in the West of Kandahar city near Iranian borders. "Since we have enough funds, we have accepted the challenge to establish a third camp," he said. "We will start ground work on the third camp after completing work on their first two camps. So far, we have completed one camp with 12,00 tents where 10,000 refugees have taken shelter. "We have also started work on the second camp and put up 500 more tents to accommodate around 5,000 refugees. Around 1,000 more tents will be pitched in the same area to accommodate 10,000 more refugees expected to reach the area in the near future." (The Gulf News)


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