KUWAIT: Kuwaitis’ advocacy of relieving and aiding people in distress and need dates back to up to 400 years ago, a very long time before last century’s oil boom. Kuwaitis, when they depended on the sea to make a living, were known for various kinds of “fazaas,” the mobilization of people particularly tribesmen to support and relieve fellows in difficulties or under threat. There was “fazaat Al-sari (ship sail)” for salvaging damaged or sinking dhows, “fazaat Al-iktitab (subscription),” a paper passed among good doers to raise donations to aid the impoverished or the afflicted.
At the external level, there was a “fazaa” to back the Omanis when their were attacked by the Portuguese in 1624, helping tribes living in nearby regions, afflicted nations, raising donations for aiding the Ottomans in catastrophes, for helping the Kazakhs following the Astana fiery fire in 1912, for renovating Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1924 in addition to constructing mosques in Kuwait. Names of the late Amirs had been glorified with calls linked to charity, such as the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who was known as “Jaber Al-Atharat,” alluding to collecting money to relieve defaulters.
As to Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, he established a guest house. Moreover during his era, the first charitable association was established, named “the Arab charitable society.” Against the backdrop of a record of uncountable good deeds abroad; building schools, hospitals, roads and water wells, the United Nations took the initiative in 2014, honoring Kuwait with the title, “the international center for humanitarian action,” and designating the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as “the leader of humanitarian action.”
On the occasion of the International Day of Charity, falling on September 5, Chairperson of the International Islamic Charity Organization and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General, Dr. Abdullah Al-Maatouq, said in a statement to KUNA that the occasion invokes pride for Kuwait, given its humanitarian message and pioneering international role in the realm of humanitarian action. Kuwait, he said, will continue to make generous humanitarian initiatives, aimed at improving peoples’ living. He affirmed its unwavering commitment to help others, driven by its cultural, religious and social heritages.
Humanitarian values are a constant basis and immortal heritage in the Kuwaiti society, he added, noting that the philanthropic action has become a lifestyle adopted by a Kuwaiti generation after another. Humanitarian action constitutes the core of the sagacious leadership’s vision, adopted by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the well-guided Government. The concept of humanitarian action, he continued, has become an inseparable part of the state.
Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Kuwait Nisreen Rbaiaan indicated in remarks to KUNA that the international occasion invokes recollections’ of Kuwait’s remarkable history of good deeds. Kuwait’s external policy is based on peace, she said, adding that its eminent international status is credited to its continuous charities and leading role in helping the weak and vulnerable in the Middle East and the world.
Kuwait has so far aided more than eight million refugees and displaced peoples, she confirmed. Additionally, Rbaiaan indicated at Kuwait’s help for peoples suffering from wars, conflicts and natural disasters, in addition to its engagements in peace dialogues at the international level. Dr Khaled Al-Shatti, the head of Kuwait Center for Documenting Humanitarian Action, noted on the occasion Kuwait’s charities since four centuries ago. – KUNA