ROME: The UAE’s Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has been lauded in Italy for a donation toward helping elderly people in the country infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Italian daily newspaper Il Mattino said that during the health crisis Sheikha Fatima, who is president of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood in the UAE and honorary president of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), had supported thousands of families affected by the pandemic in the cities of Naples, Assisi and Rome.
Humanitarian and charitable institutions in Italy have also expressed their gratitude for her backing during the pandemic, which has hit the Italian economy hard.
In conjunction with Zayed Humanitarian Day, which falls on the 19th day of Ramadan every year and aims to improve living conditions for the needy, Sheikha Fatima made a donation to elderly COVID-19 patients receiving treatment from charitable foundation Fondazione Montedomini, in Florence.
“We are grateful for Sheikha Fatima’s support for our foundation’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic,” the charity said in a statement.
Omar Obaid Al-Shamsi, the UAE’s ambassador to Italy, said the charitable initiative was in line with the founding principles of his country’s policy to support people around the world during difficult times.
“Since the beginning of the health crisis in Italy, last March, the United Arab Emirates has been among the first nations to express full solidarity with those suffering from this adversity, in particular the elderly, children and women.
“The UAE contributed in a concrete way to the international efforts so that the infection could be stopped,” Al-Shamsi added.
Italian catholic charity, the Comunita di Saint Egidio, in Naples, the capital of the Campania region which is one of the poorest areas of Italy, has received substantial financial support from the UAE to help thousands of families experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.
A Saint Egidio spokesman expressed “thanks and appreciation” to Sheikha Fatima for her humanitarian initiatives and care for needy families.
Stefania Proietti, the mayor of Assisi, received Al-Shamsi at Santa Maria Degli Angeli municipality and during their meeting extended her thanks to Sheikha Fatima for her generous donation.
Proietti praised the UAE’s solidarity with Italy in helping to combat the pandemic and said: “This act of generosity reflects the strong bonds of friendship between Italy and the UAE.”
Al-Shamsi also met with the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, and presented her with 200 electronic tablets donated by Sheikha Fatima, who is also chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, and supreme chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.
“The devices will be a great help for our educational institutions in Italy, allowing children from poor families which cannot afford to buy such electronic devices to follow online lectures,” said Raggi.
With schools in Italy having been closed since March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, e-learning has been the only way for students to receive an education.