DUBAI: Thanks to customer donations, the Emirates Airline Foundation used a staggering 132 million Skywards Miles to positively impact the lives and livelihoods of more than 90,000 people, mainly children, living in some of the most impoverished communities worldwide. In the same period – from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 – the Foundation also donated more than AED 6.5 million to 22 projects in 12 countries.
The Foundation, a vital heartbeat of the airline established in 2003, routinely supports 32 projects and non-government organisations (NGOs) in 18 countries worldwide through customer donations, corporate sponsorships and Emirates funds. Support ranges from absorbing all annual running expenses and building infrastructure to running feeding and medical programmes, paying salaries and covering other ad hoc expenses.
The Foundation also appeals to Emirates’ customers to donate Skywards Miles, small change inflight, and funds on its website.
The numbers speak for themselves. Last year, the Foundation used 132 million donated Skywards Miles to support travel for 35 NGOs on more than 50 medical missions; four NGOs on five engineering missions; and one NGO on two educational missions. The top five countries with the largest beneficiaries were: Bangladesh – more than 66,000 people; South Africa – around 7,900; Uganda – around 5,500; Tanzania – around 2,900; and Ghana – 2,000.
Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline and Chairman of the Emirates Airline Foundation said: “Emirates always looks for meaningful ways in which we can contribute to the local and global communities we serve, whether by sponsoring world-class sports and cultural events, supporting trade and tourism, or community causes. The Emirates Airline Foundation is our passion project, and we work with like-minded partners and NGOs globally who aim to reach out to the neglected, ignored, and the poorest communities on the planet.
“Rather than just donating food to feed the hungry, the Foundation provides children with holistic care – including food, clothing, shelter, medical support and an education – that transforms lives, creates livelihoods, helps sustain communities, and leads to a fairer, more just world. And we are helping our customers connect to these communities when they donate funds or their Skywards Miles. Everyone is welcome to join us on this journey.”
Last year, the Foundation supported the entire travel, logistics and free baggage allowance of 676 doctors, nurses and medical staff from NGOs. The medical practitioners travelled from Europe, USA, Canada and Australia to conduct thousands of free life-saving surgeries, consultations and screenings, and also training for local medical staff. Doctors treated deep burns and craniofacial deformities, conducted cardiovascular and reconstructive surgery, offered orthopaedic and obstetric medical support. These have directly helped 76,900 children and adults lead more fulfilling lives.
Many of these medical missions were conducted in remote villages and corners of the world. Some of the major beneficiaries include: 44,000 people at the Emirates Friendship Hospital and over 21,600 refugees, who received primary and secondary medical care in Bangladesh; and around 4,800 people in Uganda who received primary care.
Engineers Without Borders – three missions from USA and one from Germany – successfully completed water supply and rural electrification projects, installed solar panels and set up computer lab classrooms. These missions, led by 36 specialists, benefited nearly 2,700 people’s health and livelihoods in Uganda, Ghana and Kenya.
The Foundation positively impacted the lives of more than 10,300 children and 340 teachers when it supported two educational missions – one to South Africa and the other to Tanzania. Warwick in Africa not only taught children maths and English in secondary schools, but also trained local teachers to benefit children’s learning for the long-term.
In the UAE, the Foundation supported three organisations – Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities, Safe Centre for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome and The Rashid Centre for the determined ones – with AED 650,000 last year and tickets for its junior employees.