New Year. New Beginnings.
2020 began with great promise as we looked forward to welcoming the world to the UAE with EXPO 2020. However, events turned as the world faced an unprecedented global health crisis, the coronavirus pandemic, which affected every person around the globe. 2020 certainly tested us all but even so, despite the losses and the challenges faced, we have witnessed great learning, incredible innovation and, more than anything else, a united global front and togetherness to fight the virus. People around the world have risen to the challenges of the year, testament to the strength of the human spirit. Courage, kindness and hope saw us through a year like no other. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the heroes at the front line for putting their lives at risk to save ours.
In 2020 medical research took centre stage as the world grappled with the pandemic which proved that there has never been a greater need for life-saving treatment and medical breakthroughs. Al Jalila Foundation remained steadfast in supporting the government’s efforts to protect human life and invested AED 16 million into a number of healthcare programs to transform lives including expanding our research portfolio by awarding research grants to address the coronavirus pandemic.
Our greatest achievement of 2020 was the inauguration of the AED 300 million world class Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute in August by our founder His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. We are proud to support the UAE’s vision to be a leader in science with the UAE’s first independent multi-disciplinary medical research centre that aims to bring together leading local and international scientists to work together to discover solutions for the region’s biggest health challenges.
Nothing gives us greater joy than to see the lives that Al Jalila Foundation has touched and the impact research has on patients. Research has the power to advance medical breakthroughs that could save millions around the world and in 2020 we launched the giving campaign ‘Bassmat Rashid Bin Saeed’ which pays tribute to the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, fondly remembered as the Father of Dubai, who left his fingerprint on humanity. The unique virtual donation platform invites everyone, from individuals to corporates, to help shape the future of medicine and engrave their names on the first of its kind donor recognition wall. Remarkably, in four short months 107 partners have taken their place on the wall collectively donating AED 22 million for medical research.
We would like to take a moment to celebrate the achievements of 2020 that you, our valued partners, have made possible.
Al Jalila Foundation empowers researchers and the medical community to focus on pioneering medical breakthroughs and treatments to improve patients’ lives. From funding research across a number of disciplines to sponsoring aspiring students to pursue doctorates and providing financial assistance to patients at the best medical facilities – this is only made possible with the generosity and support of our partners.
In our unwavering commitment to medical research we continue to fund brilliant researchers in the UAE leading studies in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and mental health. In response to the novel Coronavirus global pandemic, we expanded our research portfolio to include COVID-19 and other viral diseases and awarded five research grants to the value of AED 3 million. We are proud that as a young foundation we have awarded 100 research grants since 2014, investing AED 28 million to empower researchers to push the boundaries of science in their quest for medical discoveries that can be translated into improved treatment and therapies to save patients’ lives.
The best way to shape the future is through education and we awarded 20 scholarships to outstanding Emirati students strengthening the UAE’s medical landscape for generations to come. Our Ta’alouf training program also saw the graduation of 264 parents and 73 teachers brightening the lives of hundreds of children of determination and their families. The first of its kind flagship program has been instrumental in empowering children to reach their full potential and has brought communities closer together. Even though people were required to stay home, technology kept us even more connected as we held bi-monthly webinars, on a number of important healthcare topics, that were attended by thousands of participants.
Our healthcare achievements cannot be discussed without mentioning the people whose precious lives have been forever changed thanks to quality medical care. In the UAE, more than 270 patients in need, including 148 young children, were able to receive lifesaving treatment giving them a new lease of life and renewed hope for the future.
As a member of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), which aims to improve the Arab world through humanitarian, developmental and community work, Al Jalila Foundation is proud to play a role in ‘putting humanity first’ and since inception has provided life-saving aid, locally and internationally, supporting MBRGI in its mission to improve human life.
All of our achievements are testament to the unwavering spirit of our amazing community who, despite the challenges of 2020, organised 175 partner fundraising activities to raise funds for Al Jalila Foundation and hundreds of #TeamAlJalila champions swam, cycled, ran, baked, sang and organised quizzes rallying family and friends to donate funds for causes close to our hearts.
Today as the vaccine is rolling out and made available to everyone in the UAE, we are optimistic about the future and as we look ahead ‘towards the next 50’, the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, we pledge to transform the lives of the people and the communities we serve. May the Year 2021 be one of hope, healing and growth inspiring each one of us to make the world a better place leaving a legacy that we can all be proud of. I hope that you will continue to follow our news and find inspiration from the stories of courage, determination and innovation that we, together, have had the privilege to be part of.
Donor support is an integral part of Al Jalila Foundation success and my team and I are grateful for it every day. Thank you for being a beacon of hope for our patients, students and researchers – and for believing in the impact that we can have when we join forces for good.
We wish you a healthy and prosperous new year.
Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama
Chief Executive Officer
Member of the Board of Directors
Al Jalila Foundation