DUBAI // The Reading Nation campaign for Ramadan surpassed its target during an auction on Tuesday, with donations collected to provide more than 7.3 million books to children.
More than Dh40 million was raised at the auction for the campaign, announced at the start of the holy month by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
The target was to provide five million books.
The Emirates Auction event raised funds by putting up for sale works from the private art collections of Sheikh Mohammed’s office, including a 106-year-old piece of the Kaaba cover (Kiswa), embroidered with gold and silver thread.
The auction also put up 10 unique telephone numbers from telecoms companies Etisalat and du worth millions of dirhams, as well as five licence plate numbers from the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.
It was the “R Dubai 10” licence plate that earned the most money on Tuesday night, purchased by Suroor Al Awadhi for Dh9.7 million.
“Donating to such a great cause put forward by Sheikh Mohammed is the most important thing, showing that the UAE is ahead of other countries and cares [for the less fortunate],” said Mr Al Awadhi, who said he would have bid as much as Dh15 million.
“The goal is that it was for charity and for it to reflect the country’s reputation.”
Other items included in the auction were two ancient copies of the Quran, each sold for Dh250,000. They were donated by Mohammed Al Murr, former Federal National Council Speaker, and Abdulrahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention.
The piece of the Kiswa sold for Dh2.1 million, while a calligraphy painting of the poem Life, written and signed by Sheikh Mohammed, was sold for Dh1.1 million.
A yearling Arabian horse, De Lamar, from Dubai Arabian Horse Stud, was auctioned off for Dh260,000.
Mohammed Al Gergawi, Secretary General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, said that the UAE has a humanitarian role towards the region.
“The goal of the campaign was for five million books, but with this auction today, we have reached 7.3 million books, which will be distributed to refugees and schools,” he said. “The UAE’s aid is not just about food but also to aid [in education], and today, the subject of reading is a very important one.
“One of the main reasons for ignorance goes back to (a lack of) education, reading and books.”
Mr Al Gergawi said he expected the number of books to increase as the campaign continued its course until Zayed Humanitarian Day on the 19th day of Ramadan.
“Reading is one of the main factors that UAE’s strategy is focusing on,” he said. “What we are doing today is continuing the course of [Founding Father] Sheikh Zayed, who believed in the importance of charity.
“This course is present in every Emirati household and school. Our leadership and government looks at a person as person, regardless of their religion and ethnicity.”
*Additional reporting by Naser Al Remeithi
Source: uae news