A US-based charity agency has set its sights on Dubai as a launch pad to help rebuild shattered lives in the region and beyond. LifeUSA already has a marketing office here and hopes authorities will let it raise funds this year, said Muthanna Al Hanooti, the non-governmental organisation's (NGO) regional manager.
"Dubai was chosen for two reasons: One because it is the hub of business in the Gulf area; second, it has a policy friendly to business and organisations," said Al Hanooti, who shuttles between Dubai and Detroit, their main base.
He also looks forward to a place in Dubai Aid City in two years. The group's campaigns for its charity work in the Arab world this year include arranging 10,000 wheelchairs and education for women in Palestine and Iraq, and sponsoring a school and/or orphanage in Afghanistan, according to Al Hanooti.?The biggest milestone of LifeUSA in the Muslim world will be education,? he commented.
Al Hanooti said it is not difficult to promote the NGO as a US entity, explaining that LifeUSA reflects "the beautiful, humane face of America". He said people should not confuse the organisation?s work with the US foreign policy in Middle East. With a $20 million (Dh73.4 million) 2006 budget, LifeUSA spends mostly on health and education services.
It also handles emergency relief.
Since the humanitarian firm was established byAmerican Muslims they distribute the ?Zakat? according to religious law, Al Hanooti said.
LifeUSA, born out of a vision to support civilians in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and the subsequent trade embargo on Iraq, also works with the UN Development Programme, Unicef, Care International, Wheelchair Foundation, AmeriCares, Veterans For Peace etc.