Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has donated more than UAE dirhams 100,000 to underprivileged communities in Sri Lanka. A delegation from Etihad Airways visited Sri Lanka this week to present the donation, raised through a series of charitable initiatives in Abu Dhabi.
His Excellency Abdul Hamid Abdul Fattah Al Mulla the UAE Ambassador to Sri Lanka joined the Etihad Airways’ delegation headed by Khaled Al Mehairbi, Senior Vice President of Government and Aero-political Affairs. The delegation also included Ali Al Shamsi, Vice President of Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Hub, Adil Al Mulla Vice President Procurement and Supply Management, Dr Nadia Bastaki, Vice President Medical Services and Kumar De Silva, Etihad Airways’ General Manager in Sri Lanka, along with the airline’s Colombo-based staff.
The two-day program included the official opening of the Maha Vidyalaya School in Alankuda which was fully rebuilt with funds raised by the Abu Dhabi based airline. The school benefits 1,500 students who received care packages with school bags, stationery, shirts, blankets, dates, and clothes.
Khaled Al Mehairbi, who also serves as Chairman of Etihad Airways’ Sports and Social Committee, said: “As the UAE flag carrier we are committed to giving back to those in need. We are extremely proud to play a part in helping these students pursue their studies and hope that our visit will help raise awareness of global education, and at the same time celebrate our eleven years of operations in Sri Lanka.
“This donation represents the kindness and generosity of our staff and partners, as well as the wider community in Abu Dhabi who participated in this community initiative. Also, we are delighted to launch this initiative and hope we were able to make a positive impact on these young children’s lives”.
UAE Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Abdulhamid Abdulfattah K. Al- Mulla said that he was happy to see the children happy, adding this was the first time Etihad Airways had assisted in education and development in Sri Lanka and they would continue to assist the needy. He further assured that irrespective of which party governs Sri Lanka, the UAE government would work closely with the Sri Lankan government and continue to assist Sri Lanka while strengthening the friendly relations between the countries. He further added, “Stability and peace are vital ingredients for development .Sri Lanka’s security and stability is attractive for UAE private investors and they are very keen to expand their investment profile in Sri Lanka beyond current levels.”
The ambassador also highlighted that such humanitarian initiatives goes in line with UAE leadership directions to help out the needy, across the globe.
The visit also included the official launch of a new women’s clinic at the District Kalpitiya Hospital in Puttalam located north west of Colombo.
Etihad Airways funded the establishment and refurbishment of the new clinic to improve health and wellness of women in rural areas and increase awareness of the importance of the early detection of breast cancer.
The airline’s Guest Services team donated UAE Dirhams 50,000 raised through various charitable initiatives and activities during 2014. Blankets were also distributed to in-house patients.
Khaled Al Mehairbi said: “I would like to thank the Guest Services team for their generosity. Etihad Airways provides ongoing support for many initiatives aimed at improving the health and welfare of working women and children. We look toward to working closely with the hospital in the future.”
The delegation concluded its trip with a visit to St Joseph Orphanage in Colombo where more than 500 children received care packages made up of blankets, clothes and toys.
“We are happy that our donations put a smile on the faces of our children and friends in Sri Lanka. Our special thanks go to all parties who supported the success of this trip including The Red Crescent, The UAE Embassy in Sri Lanka, the Etihad Airways’ team, Abu Dhabi Police, Immigration Department at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Abu Dhabi Airports Companies’ staff (ADAC), and Etihad staff at Abu Dhabi International Airport,” Khaled Al Mehairbi concluded.