United Arab Emirates
Projects in the United Arab Emirates
Looking back on the first trip to Abu Dhabi
This trip has completely transformed my life. I have seen with my own eyes that it doesn’t matter whether you live in Egypt, Indonesia, Oman or Abu Dhabi; every child needs love, warmth, and a safe place.
The difference between wealth and poverty is something that everyone can understand. What I experienced on this trip was the kind of poverty caused by a lack of love. Abu Dhabi is an oil-rich country, part of the Arab Emirates. The oil sheiks who live there lead opulent lives with their yachts and palaces, their gold and diamonds. The women accompany their men on business trips abroad or fill their days with shopping. We can only guess at their real feelings, whether they feel lonely or disempowered, or if they just go with the flow for reasons of status. It is not for me to judge.
Their children also live in complete luxury and abundance. They have the credit cards to buy whatever they want. But when it comes to the kind of love that is absolutely essential to everyone, they are in fact impoverished. Material things can be purchased, but a gold card cannot buy love and warmth. Out of control and uncertain, they do not know where to turn for stability and security. They do not know where to find love and warmth. I have no words to describe how this made me feel. The young people who shared their personal experiences with me lacked nothing in terms of money and luxury, but they still felt lonely and isolated.
It was a sharp contrast with other parts of the world where I met with and talked to children who sometimes had no place at all to call home; no roof over their heads, sometimes no parents, and sometimes did not know how they would survive. And yet these children often have so much strength and positive energy. They want to survive and are prepared to fight for a safe place. I had no words to describe this either. I was completely overwhelmed, but just as determined to do something about their situation.
There is no going back now. I have to find a way to build a bridge between rich and poor, between countries and cultures, and to do so within the framework of our foundation SDFF. The foundation’s objective is to provide children with a safe place, regardless of where they live. To be there for every child who needs us, to let our hearts speak, and to feel and experience their need.
That is why our foundation is so special. We follow our hearts without losing sight of reality, and try to find the means to create a safe, loving place for all children. I let my heart speak, and my heart is touched if I can make children laugh. I think it is important to follow your heart, but I can only speak for myself and for the children. It is up to you to judge where your own heart takes you.