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COP28: Pakistan’s orphan school ‘KORT’ wins Zayed Prize for Sustainability in the United Arab Emirates

Dubai: Pakistan’s largest orphan school ‘KORT Education’ won the prestigious Zayed Award for Sustainability at COP28 held in Expo City, Dubai.

The school for children orphaned after the devastating 2005 earthquake in Pakistan is run by a charity Kashmir Orphan Relief Trust (KORT). More than 87,000 people died in the earthquake, leaving behind thousands of helpless orphans.

UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan presented the winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s global prize in sustainability and humanitarianism, during a ceremony held on Friday at the UAE COP28 at Expo City Dubai.

Sumaiya Bibi, who lost her parents in the 2005 earthquake, received the award on behalf of KORT at the ceremony.

The event was attended by numerous heads of delegations participating in COP28, ministers, senior government officials and Award winners and finalists.

Zayed Sustainability Award

The award honors the legacy of the UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, by rewarding small and medium-sized businesses, non-profit organizations and secondary schools that address challenges related to health, food, energy , water and climate. For more than 15 years, through its 106 previous winners, the Prize has transformed the lives of 384 million people around the world.

To strengthen its commitment to promoting sustainable and humanitarian development, the Zayed Sustainability Prize will increase its endowment from $3.6 million to $5.9 million, effective immediately.

Zayed’s legacy

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed congratulated the winners, praised their efforts in promoting sustainability and encouraged them to continue their important contributions in this field.

His Highness emphasized that the UAE remains steadfast in building on its established legacy of sustainability, a foundation laid by the country’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

In this regard, His Highness highlighted the important role of the Zayed Sustainability Prize in promoting sustainable development, service to humanity and empowering innovators, entrepreneurs and young people to actively contribute to making a positive difference for our planet.

The President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (seventh from the right), stands with a photo with the winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize at Expo City in Dubai on December 1.
Image credit: United Arab Emirates Presidential Court

Empower the vulnerable

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize and President of COP28, said: “Today, the UAE reaffirms its dedication to combating climate change and empowering vulnerable communities by awarding one million US dollars. to each of our distinguished winners in Health, Food, Water, Energy and Climate Action, and US$150,000 to each Global High School winner. “This substantial funding will help scale their innovative solutions and achieve transformative progress around the world, especially in the Global South.”

Thank you United Arab Emirates

Speaking to Gulf News, UK-based Pakistani businessman Chaudhry Mohammed Akhtar, who founded KORT along with his friend after the 2005 earthquake, said: “A proud moment for Pakistan and for our orphan children who received this transcendental award of The Best School in the World. in South Asia. Our efforts over the past 18 years have been recognized by the UAE. Thank you United Arab Emirates.”

“At KORT we believe that every child has the right to be protected and cared for physically, psychologically and emotionally, and these rights do not change when children become orphans,” said the KORT president.


KORT President Chaudhry Mohammd Akhar with Sumiya Bibi (left) and Kinza Bib (right) while receiving the Zayed Sustainability Award in Dubai on Friday, December 1.
Image credit: supplied

He added that as a non-profit organization, KORT has been dedicated to supporting and providing orphaned children with excellent education, boarding school, food, clothing and medical care.

“We provide quality education, including boarding schools, to over 1,000 orphans at our KORT Education Complex in Kashmir.”

Award winners

Climate action category

In the new Climate Action category, Kelp Blue, a Namibian SME, won the award for its ambitious efforts to grow large-scale deep-sea kelp forests, contributing to the restoration of ocean biodiversity and capturing 100,000 tonnes of CO2. of the atmosphere annually. Additionally, its operations have generated job opportunities in coastal communities.

Health category

In the Health category, doctorSHARE from Indonesia received the award for its pioneering work in bringing access to healthcare to hard-to-reach areas, particularly with floating hospitals mounted on barges. Its impact is substantial, having treated more than 160,000 patients.

Food Category

In the Food category, the Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agricultural Platform (GUPAP), from Palestine, won for its contributions to supporting a more resilient agricultural sector in Gaza. The NPO facilitates access to locally produced food, provides job security to 200 agricultural women and benefits more than 7,000 people.

Energy category

In the Energy category, Ignite Power, a Rwandan SME, received the award for its transformative efforts to provide affordable electricity to last mile communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Its pay-as-you-go solar solutions provided electricity to 2.5 million people and avoided 600,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Beyond access to clean energy, Ignite Power has introduced solar-powered irrigation solutions and created 3,500 local jobs.

Water Menu

In the Water category, Eau et Vie, a non-profit organization from France, won for its contributions to ensuring access to drinking water in impoverished areas by installing taps in urban homes. They have increased access to water for 52,000 people in 27 communities in 10 cities. In addition, they raised awareness about hygienic practices among 66,000 people and reduced the cost of water by 75%.

The Zayed Sustainability Prize also engages young people through its Global Secondary Schools category and encourages them to take an active role in supporting their communities and becoming future leaders in sustainability. The 47 Award-winning global high schools have impacted the lives of more than 55,186 students and 453,887 people in their broader communities.

Global High Schools

Recipients of the Global High Schools Awards are KORT Education Complex (Pakistan), representing South Asia; High Performance College of La Libertad (Peru), representing the Americas; Gwani Ibrahim Dan Hajja Academy (Nigeria), representing Sub-Saharan Africa; International School (Morocco), representing the Middle East and North Africa; Northfleet Technology College (United Kingdom), representing Europe and Central Asia; and finally, Beijing No. 35 High School (China), representing East Asia and the Pacific. .

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