DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Religious observances are a time when many people come together for a unifying cause. However, this year’s Ramadan brings a unique campaign to Dubai: throughout the entire month of the holiday, a water well will be built everyday in Africa and Asia.
This initiative will bring safe drinking water to the impoverished in developing regions that previously had no access to water.
The Ramadan campaign in Dubai was launched, along with the United Arab Emirates Suqia Water Aid initiative, by Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.
Around 783 million people do not have access to sources of safe drinking water, according to the U.N. But, by building a total of 30 wells, the campaign hopes to give more than 5 million people access to this necessity.
Since late June, Muslims throughout the world started their observance of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam. During this month-long holiday, Muslims will observe Ramadan by fasting, completing charitable work, reciting nightly prayers and reading the Quran. Since charity is one of the main religious practices performed during the month, it is fitting that the campaign will take place throughout Ramadan.
Global Humanitarian Assistance ranked the UAE as the 17th largest donor in 2011 of humanitarian assistance.
As of July 2, the sixth day of Ramadan, the UAE already received 86.1 million dirhams. Based on these estimates, 69 percent of the targeted 5 million people will now receive access to water.
Access to clean water is a central human right, yet flooding over the past several years increased the amount of people infected with water-borne diseases. Drinking contaminated water has serious health consequences and causes approximately 3.4 million deaths a year, according to Water.org.
UNICEF estimates that around 173 million people drink water from sources that are not clean simply because they have no other access to water.
– Meghan Orner