Global Poverty May Fall by 12% if Children in Poor Countries Could Learn to Read

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Global poverty would fall by 12% if all children in poor countries could read, and one extra year of schooling could increase an individual’s earnings by up to 10%, according to Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, a philanthropic organization working to improve children’s access to quality primary education in developing countries.

Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares Offers Masdar Institute Faculty and Students Insights into Sustainable Humanitarian Initiatives

Global Poverty May Fall by 12% if Children in Poor Countries Could Learn to Read
Mr Hamza Kazim, Vice President, Operations and Finance; Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President; Dr Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director, Public Affairs; Tariq Al Gurg, CEO, Dubai Cares; and Dr Bruce Fergusson, Professor, Engineering Systems and Management, Masdar Institute, after the event. Photo-supplied

Al Gurg’s comments came in a lecture which he delivered as part of Masdar Institute Lecture Series at the Masdar Institute Auditorium. Staff members, faculty and students attended the interview-style discussions to understand the effectiveness of Dubai Cares’ philanthropic programs that have gained prominence and acceptance at the highest levels in the United Nations for their impact, sustainability and scalability. The lecture was moderated by Dr Bruce Fergusson, Professor, Engineering Systems and Management.

According to UN statistics, there are 2.2 billion children in the world, of which 1.9 billion live in developing countries. Every second child, that is 1 billion, lives in poverty. Moreover, 1 billion people will still be living on less than $1.25 a day in 2015. If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty, resulting in a 12% cut in global poverty. Such statistics make philanthropic efforts by organizations such as Dubai Cares an even more daunting task.

Al Gurg said: “Around 57 million children around the world do not end up in school due to unforeseen circumstances. Moreover, poverty continues to claim the lives of 22,000 children under the age of 5 each day. In this context, our role as a philanthropic organization assumes great relevance. Wherever there is a relevant need across the world, Dubai Cares intervenes to offer support and assistance.”

Commending Masdar Institute for the research projects in the area of sustainability, Al Gurg pointed out that Dubai Cares shares common objectives with the research-based institution.

Al Gurg added: “Dubai Cares welcomes research projects that tackle challenges in providing water and energy sustainably to the community. These are the two basic necessities that people in some developing countries do not gain access to. We reach out to such communities, offering assistance and making a difference in their lives. At the same time, I firmly believe that the research efforts undertaken by Masdar Institute in sustainability and advanced technology will bring much more benefits to regions that still lack water and energy.”

In this context, and in order to renew and reinvigorate global commitments to education, the United Nations’ Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon launched the ‘Global Education First Initiative’ in September 2012, which aims to enroll every child in school, improve the quality of learning and foster global citizenship. Dubai Cares attended the launch of the global initiative during the week of the UN General Assembly in New York, where Ban Ki-Moon selected Dubai Cares to be a member in the Technical Advisory Group of the initiative. The launch was also attended by decision and policy makers, as well as representatives of UN agencies, NGOs, private foundations and member states.

“As a member of the Technical Advisory Group for the ‘Global Education First Initiative’, I believe this initiative has given all stakeholders renewed optimism as we work together to provide education for all in today’s knowledge-based global economy. For the next four years, Dubai Cares will be advocating for quality education and learning to become a primary focus on the agendas of local and national governments, as well as aid organizations worldwide,” Al Gurg concluded.

Since inception in September 2007, Dubai Cares has been reaching 8 million children in 31 developing countries. The organization has built and renovated over 1,500 classrooms, provided more than 1,000 water wells and potable water sources while constructing over 3,000 washrooms in schools. It has also provided nutritious food every day to more than 500,000 children in schools, offered training to over 23,000 teachers, while keeping more than 2.3 million children free from intestinal worms through its de-worming activities. Other assistance includes distributing over 2.1 million books written in local languages and establishing over 6,750 Parent-Teacher Associations.

As part of Masdar Institute Lecture Series, Masdar Institute invites experts and leaders from the government, industry and academia to share their knowledge and perspectives with the faculty and students. The Series reflects one of the key aspects of Masdar Institute’s contribution to Abu Dhabi’s knowledge development efforts.

Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.

Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.

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