DIRECT AID

International Awards

Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services
2005-2006
Direct Aid is a Kuwait-based society undertaking charity work using a new technique based on extending support and relief to African peoples suffering from dire economic and social conditions. It was established by Dr. AbulrahmanAlsmeit in early 1981 with a view to assist Muslim and other poorer communities in the dark continent.
Since its establishment, the Director Aid society was registered with the UN as a relief agency functioning in more than forty African states. It was the first society in the world to start relief work in Somalia when famine destroyed the country in 1991. The Society had then set a plan for the rehabilitation of stricken areas. The plan included distribution of herds of sheep and goats to breeders, the training of women in traditional handicrafts, and rehabilitation of some of the drinking water wells.
 
In a tribal African environment fraught with conflicts and internal disputes, it was incumbent that charity works should remain isolated from politics. This was clearly stated by the Society from the very beginning and it continued to strictly adhere to it. When in December 2002, the Society embarked upon a broadcasting project involving some 97 broadcasts, those responsible for the project made it clear that they would focus on the teachings and principles of Islam, and health and societal education, without ever dealing with political issues, tribal disputes or internal conflicts. 
The road was not smooth and the Society faced many hardships and obstacles, including poor facilities, obstacles of finance and support in view of the extreme poverty in the famineplagued African countries. The Society depends on donations by people in Kuwait and other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as well as other states.
 
The Society has managed to accomplish a large number of projects the sum total of which has been the establishment of 1 24 hospitals and clinics, distribution of 265,000 tons of foods, drugs and clothes, digging 4,250 artesian wells and thousands of other wells in the drought-stricken areas, and the running of several agricultural projects over an area of 10 million square meters and the establishment of 8 major plantations. Additionally, the Society has managed to build and operate 214 centers for the training of women, and established 30 medical camps specialized in ophthalmology offering free-of-charge treatment within the context of an anti-blindness campaign. 
 
Moreover, the Direct Support Society has managed to sponsor 10,000 orphans and to build 2,150 mosques as well as monthly pay for 3,288 preachers, teachers, employees, and technicians staffing its various offices in Africa.
 
Additionally, the Society has managed to distribute 6.5 million copies of the Holy Quran in Arabic and African languages. It has also translated and printed 7.5 million books in 22 official and local languages. It has also managed to build and operate    204    cultural and scientific centers     (each consisting of a school, a clinic, a female training center, an orphans center, dwellings and a farm). It has also managed to establish 840 schools and two universities with a student population of one million.
 
Moreover, the Society has provided study fees for 95,000 students from the revenue of its various projects. It also sponsors more than a thousand post-graduate students, and offers 300 postgraduate grants. Likewise, it organizes thousands of educational and training courses. 
In addition to all such achievements, the Society has run several relief airlifts from Kuwait and other Gulf countries, as well as from South Africa during the 1983-1984 famine, offering food and drugs. The same occurred during the famine in the Sudan and Sahara, offering aid worth $ 23 million. 
In 1992, the Society offered aid worth $ 8.5 million to help overcome famines in collaboration with UNICF and other international agencies. Moreover, it offered help estimated at $3.2 million to the region of Darfour in western  Sudan. Currently, the Society is functioning in Niger through its office there, and has already started offering relief aid estimated at $ 1 million so far.
 
The Direct Aid Society has been an advisory member of the UN Economic and Social Council since 1 999. It enjoys diplomatic status and immunity in a number of African countries by virtue of agreements with the Foreign Ministries thereof.
 
The Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid AI-Maktoum Award for Medical Science appreciates the efforts exerted by the founder of the Society, Dr. AbdulrahmanAlsmeit, gastroenterologist who voluntarily opted to quit the medical field to become one of the champions of charity action. He has gone far and wide in the heart of Africa to serve the needy and to establish a major charity project combating poverty. He has managed to offer much to the needy.
 
In view of its remarkable achievements, and the humanitarian and medical services, the Direct Aid Society deserves the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences in the category of Volunteers in Medical and Humanitarian Services for the 2005-2006 session.
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