View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The UAE Fighting Poverty

Blog Action Day
Today (15 October) is Blog Action Day. Each year thousands of bloggers unite to discuss a single issue.

This year the issue is Poverty. The aim is to ‘raise awareness, initiate action and to shake the web.’

At the time of writing over 10,000 sites are participating with an estimated audience of over 11 million people.

UAE and Poverty
If you played the word association game and said to most people in the world the words ‘United Arab Emirates’ you would rarely get the associated response ‘poverty’. On the contrary, people would say, ‘wealth’, ‘oil’ and ‘glitz’.

The financial markets in the UAE have been affected by the global financial crisis but this country appears to be sheltered from the severe storms and buoyed by massive oil reserves.

Yet there is poverty in the Emirates and many articles have addressed the low wages and inadequate living conditions of Asian laborers who are working to build skyscrapers that are bringing wealth to the nation. Poverty must first be fought in our own backyard.

UAE and World Poverty
The leaders of the UAE have made huge donations in recent years to countries facing poverty and calamity. This generosity is to be applauded.

Getting involved with international campaigns such as Make Poverty History and pressing our own country to do more is one way of doing something about poverty in the world.

It was first said in this region: “To those who are given much, much shall be required.”

Hopefully out of the amazing resources of this country much will be given to make poverty history.

Poverty and the Personal
The immensity of poverty in the world often paralyses us and leaves us sitting on our hands.

It was that shrivelled up Albanian woman working in Calcutta who addressed this challenge and inspired so many with her actions and these words:

“I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time. I can only feed one person at a time. Just you begin...maybe if I didn't pick up that one person I wouldn't have picked up 42,000. The whole work is only a drop in the ocean. But if I didn't put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less.”

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Blog Action Day 2008