Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, the Chairman of Al Habtoor Group has taken the bold step to launch a foundation in his name to help make the world a better place. Joanna Andrews looks at the promises the well-known philanthropist has made to society…
If you knew Khalaf Al Habtoor, you would know him as a giving man, and a humble one at that. For decades he has donated more than his fair share to charities the world over. Now the entrepreneur has set up a foundation to put all his charities under one umbrella – The Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation.
The world’s population is now at more than seven billion, and nearly three billion of those people live on less than $2 a day. This statistic just goes to show how much ‘need’ there is in the world. Al Habtoor wants change, and his foundation is the catalyst for change. He wants to do his part to help improve the wealth and health of many people.
Khalaf Al Habtoor said, "I decided to launch Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation to combine all charities I did before and I am doing now in one framework in the long run, in accordance with the Foundation's statute that defined its objectives and noble goals."
As for the funding source, Al Habtoor explained, "Twenty per cent of the Al Habtoor Group has been allocated for the Foundation. It is of course separate from Zakat, which is mandatory for every Muslim."
The aim of the foundation is to focus mainly on developing and improving human societies in need in the United Arab Emirates (UAE); to improve the lives of some of the poorest people, with a high priority on health and development.
Al Habtoor said, "One of the most important goals of Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation is to help and assist all humans in general, and UAE nationals in particular, within a comprehensive and sustainable development approach and a healthy environment. It will draw on its principles looking towards leadership and excellence."
The charity also aims at providing relief and assistance to communities around the world affected by natural disasters and social calamities and meeting the needs of orphans and improving their welfare. Al Habtoor is only too aware of the suffering that is going on in many parts of the wider Middle East, not caused by natural disasters but political ones. He is a vocal critic of the atrocities inflicted by some of the region’s leaders (in Syria, Iran, Egypt and Lebanon to name a few!)
Another mission for Al Habtoor is to help improve education and scientific research with the establishment of scientific and research chairs named after the Founder within and outside the UAE. Al Habtoor has also set a goal to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural communication – something that is very dear to his heart.
The Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation is located at the Al Farooq Omar Ibn Khattab Mosque and Center in Dubai; an architectural gem that the Al Habtoor Group Chairman built and donated to his country a few years ago. It is one of his countless efforts to promote religious understanding - and yet another prime example of his philanthropic endeavours.
The official launch of the Foundation took place in the presence of Ahmad Humaid Al Mazoorei, Chairman of the UAE Red Crescent Authority. Also present were Sultan Al Habtoor, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, and the Board members, Prof. Rafia Ghubash, Ahmad Khalaf Al Habtoor, Mohammad Abdallah Al Haj, Jomaa Khalifa Bin Thalith, Abdul Salam Al Marzooqi, Secretary General and Director of the Foundation.
Al Habtoor has long been in ‘the business of giving’ but he is not one to brag about the millions of donations he has lashed out far and wide. His Foundation allows a coordinated effort going forward and brings all his charities under one roof, offering hope for the future and bringing promises of a better life for many people who are suffering today. As long as people like Al Habtoor are around, the world will be a better place for generations to come.