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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) donated supplies to help more than 2,450 Syrian refugee children at Ritsona, Kare-Tepe and Malakasa refugee camps in Greece on 13 and 15 September. The provisions were flown to Greece on a specially branded Year of Zayed Etihad Cargo Boeing 777 as part of the group’s ongoing corporate social responsibility programme. 

The donation, in partnership with Emirates Red Crescent, comprised of more than 2,450 school bags and stationery sets, to benefit children between four and 15 years old, some of whom are starting school for the first time this year. Etihad Aviation Group made the donation through a series of fundraisers and volunteer events in Abu Dhabi.

Khaled Al Mehairbi, Chairman Corporate Social Responsibility, who headed the delegation during the visit, said: “As the UAE’s national airline and as part of our extensive Year of Zayed programme, we are committed to giving back to those in need. This donation represents the legacy of UAE’s founding father HH Sheikh Zayed’s philosophy towards respect, demonstrated through the care and generosity of our dedicated staff volunteers, as well as the wider community in Abu Dhabi who participated in our initiatives to support global education.”

Open since 2016, under the patronage of the United Arab Emirates and with support of Emirates Red Crescent and Greek Red Cross, around 500 Syrian children at Ritsona camp benefited from the charitable distribution. Ritsona camp has 159 housing units, three schools, a children’s playground and a football and volleyball area.

Mohammed Mir Abdullah Al Raisi, UAE Ambassador to Greece who helped with donation distribution at Ritsona said: “I would like to thank Etihad Aviation Group, Emirates Red Crescent and all our partners for their efforts in this important initiative. I am grateful that together, we are highlighting the importance of education to the less fortunate.”

Lead by the Municipality of Lesvos and with the support of Mayor Galinos Spyros, around 1,500 children received the donation at Kara-Tepe camp, an open hospitality center which accepts vulnerable families of refugees. The camp is equipped with a medical centre and education areas for music, languages and more, to provide refugees with essential facilities. To celebrate the donation, a fun-filled day for children at the camp was arranged, including a football game.

Malakasa Accommodation Center, about 40km from the center of Athens and funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, houses around 1,400 refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. Education supplies were distributed for the 450 children living at the camp.

As well as much needed school supplies, Ritsona, Kare-Tepe and Malakasa were also given over 4,500 blankets for both children and adults, in addition to clothes and story books.

“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 the importance of children’s education. Our thanks go to all parties who supported this donation including Emirates Red Crescent and the UAE Embassy in Greece, and upheld the late Sheikh Zayed’s philanthropic endeavors,” Mr Al Mehairbi concluded.

Over the next few months, Etihad will continue to commemorate the Year of Zayed through a number of projects including the Abu Dhabi Birdathon, a community and sustainability event, renaming the Etihad Training Academy to Zayed Campus and launching the Young Aviators programme for school children in the UAE.

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