A UAE paper has said that from the desert sands of early years, the UAE has now transformed into a mighty country that stands as a model for others through exemplary achievements in various fields, but the most glittering feather in its cap is its leading role at the global level in the field of humanitarian aid for people in need, regardless of geography, race or religion.
"The great personality who laid such an unshakable foundation for humanitarian action is none other than the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose wisdom and legacy drives the nation's approach towards remarkable generosity and giving," said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Monday.
At its meeting on November 27th, 2012, the Federal Cabinet decided to mark the 19th day of the Holy Month of Ramadan each year, the anniversary of the death of the UAE founding father, as Zayed Humanitarian Work Day.
Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, declared, "We proclaim this day as Humanitarian Work Day for the UAE, to commemorate Sheikh Zayed's spirit of philanthropy and to promote the Emirati culture of giving, the foundations of which were laid by Sheikh Zayed."
This year too, as the nation marks UAE Humanitarian Day on Monday, UAE citizens and residents recall with pride the life of the founding father and his tireless efforts to promote the country as a global capital for charitable works.
The results are already reflected on the ground. The country ranked as the world's largest donor of official development aid during 2014, relative to its national income, renewing its position as the most generous aid donor in the world.
It turned out to be the second year in a row that the UAE emerged as the largest foreign aid provider, relative to its GDP.
Figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed that the official development aid provided by the country hit Dh18 billion, which is 1.17 percent of gross national income.
The country has remained generous over the years. The value of development and humanitarian aid provided by the UAE between 1971 and 2004 touched Dh90.5 billion, and more than 117 countries worldwide benefited from this generosity.
On April 18th, 2012, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees hailed the UAE's humanitarian role in the field of improving living conditions and preserving human dignity all over the world.
Way back in 1992, Sheikh Zayed established the Zayed Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works with capital of more than one billion US Dollars in the arena of philanthropy in all fields both within the country and all over the world. The foundation, since its inception 21 years ago and up to August 2013, donated more than US$460 million to various charity programmes and humanitarian projects which were carried out in 96 countries throughout the Arab world, Asia, Africa and Europe, in addition to a range of vital local projects.
Under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Zayed's generous legacy has been kept alive.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid reflected the feelings of the entire nation when he explained, "Zayed is the source of generosity and its origin, and he is the one who has instilled a love of giving in the hearts of his people, and we must remember him on this day for his humanity and generosity for all people, which made the Emirates a global humanitarian platform for giving."
The Sharjah-based daily concluded by quoting Sheikh Zayed as once saying, "We believe that the benefit of the fortune granted to us by God should spread to cover our brothers and friends."