UAE businessman, philanthropist Al-Habtoor launches $500,000 children’s fund in Illinois

Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor addresses a press conference in Springfield, Illinois on Feb. 8.
Updated 13 February 2018
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UAE businessman, philanthropist Al-Habtoor launches $500,000 children’s fund in Illinois

Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor, a well-known businessman and philanthropist, has launched a children’s fund in Central Illinois. He said America needs to do more to address hunger and homelessness in the country. His comments came as US President Donald Trump took credit for a strong US economy and job growth in a speech in Ohio last week. Al-Habtoor said that the US government needs to do more to address the issue on US soil.
“President Donald Trump is giving himself credit for a strong economy but he needs to prioritize the lack of basic human rights for many Americans,” Al-Habtoor said. “The US homeless population increased for the first time since 2010 under the Trump administration. The US is the world’s biggest economy, where homelessness and poverty should not be an issue.”
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development acknowledged at the end of 2017 in its annual Point in Time count that there are 554,000 homeless people in the US. That is a one percent jump from the previous year, while the official poverty rate is around 12.7 percent according to data from the US Census Bureau. Separately, Feeding America states that more than 46 million people in American turn to them for food each year.
Al-Habtoor is in the US for the launch of the “Dr. Khalaf Al-Habtoor and Congressman Paul Findley’s Children Fund.” His $500,000 contribution, which has been awarded to the Central Illinois Foodbank in Springfield, will be used to establish an endowment to fund programs that provide food to people in need throughout the foodbank’s 21 counties.
Al-Habtoor learned of the Central Illinois Foodbank and its outstanding performance in providing for the needs of the hungry through his long-term relationship with retired US Congressman Paul Findley.
At a press conference attended by state and community leaders in Springfield, Illinois on Feb. 8, Al-Habtoor said: “I believe that philanthropy should be independent of race, religion and geography. When God gives you something, you have to give part of it to people in need without differentiation. You have to help everyone. The three main religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — teach us that. All people have the right to live a decent life. With this thought in mind, I am very grateful and find much serenity through giving and sharing with the people and children of Central Illinois.”
He added, “I am deeply grateful to Congressman Paul Findley for his vision and the commitments he has made as a tireless public servant in retirement. I would also like to thank the Central Illinois Foodbank for its diligent pursuit of its mission to serve those in need of food and develop creative solutions to end hunger.”


Alef Education launches first project in US

From right, Geoffrey Alphonso, CEO of Alef Education; Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone and chairman of NexGen Education; and Hanut Singh, CEO of NexGen Education and CEO of QBS Learning.
Updated 17 October 2018
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Alef Education launches first project in US

Alef Education, a UAE-based education technology company, has announced the launch of its Alef education system in the US.

The system will be used at Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) schools in New York city, starting Oct. 15.

The Alef education system brings together a blend of the latest technology and pedagogical approaches geared toward learners of today. A key component of the system is the “Alef Platform,” which has three main pillars: 

•A fun and easy-to-use digital learning environment 

•High-quality digital content developed to engage and stimulate learning with a blend of videos, interactivities and games. 

•Real time data provided within each lesson to truly enable educators to support personalized learning and identify student strengths and weaknesses. 

The partnership between Alef Education and the Harlem Children’s Zone schools started in 2017 when leaders of those organizations met. The meeting included a review of best practices in pedagogy, instructional design, the use of technology, and the best ways to identify difficult concepts and detect struggling students early using data. 

Alef Education identified NexGen, an education technology startup based in New York City, as its US-based partner to carry forward the implementation of the program at the Harlem Children’s Zone schools and other school systems across the US. 

Geoffrey Alphonso, chief executive of Alef Education, said: “As a leading education technology company, we want to play a significant role in the creation of the next generation of innovative individuals around the world, and continue to provide the latest innovations in artificial intelligence-based and technology-driven education solutions within a holistic education system.” 

He added: “The implementation of our innovative education system in the Harlem Children’s Zone schools in New York city speaks of a quantum leap in our long-term mission to leverage technology to provide students with the personalized education they need to succeed, while also empowering teachers with real-time, actionable data.” 

Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone schools in New York and chairman of NexGen Education, named one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine and as one of the 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine, said: “We are pleased to welcome Alef Education’s innovative education system into our schools in New York as of October 2018. Education systems across the world are witnessing unprecedented transformations and a transition to a more dynamic education based on new technologies. In this context, we have decided to adopt this program to further enrich the resources available to our students to ensure they have access to the best the digital education industry has to offer.”