The 100 winners of Save Water – UAE Children’s Painting Competition 2008 were announced today at a gala ceremony held at Coral Beach Resort, Sharjah. An unprecedented 100,000 primary and secondary school students from 750 public and private schools participated in the contest. Held under the Kind patronage of H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Faisal Al Qassimi, UAE Ministry of Education and AGMC-BMW in association with Babyshop, ChoCo’a, Western Union, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Hamriyah Free Zone Authority and Philips, the campaign emerged as one of the strongest symbols of the country’s growing awareness of critical environmental issues – particularly the importance of conserving water.
Eleven-year-old Mahrahamad Al Suwaidi from Sharjah Private School walked away with the grand prize of a 4-day trip (with his parents) to New Zealand sponsored by New Zealand and Beyond (Your Leisure Company) and Apollo Flight Centre.
The second spot was grabbed by Zahra Amer Al Saffar from Dubai International School and the third position was won by Sahil Ahmed from The Indian High School. In addition, there were 97 consolation prizes sponsored by Toyworld, Palm International and ChoCo’a. Philips gave away a special prize to a painting that best depicted energy conservation while Palm Utilities gave away three special prizes to paintings that best portrayed water conservation.
H.E. Sheikh Mohammed, Chairman MANAFA LLC, said, ‘Through the annual UAE Children’s Painting Competition we have been successful in drawing the attention of society and business houses towards the many issues that threaten the environment. Children embody our future hopes and aspirations. This naturally gives us a chance to reappraise our lifestyle. I am sure their creative energies will inspire and lead us towards taking better care of our precious resources.’
Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, Director, Department of Student Activities, UAE Ministry of Education, said, ‘We had a very enthusiastic response from all schools in the UAE and saw a lot of talent, great ideas and imagination. We got back a staggering 85,000 entries which really speaks volumes of the responsibility shown by the students and their teachers and parents towards the importance of saving water. It was extremely difficult to pick an outright winner as they were all winners. We are grateful to all schools for their enthusiastic participation that helped us to take the message to a much larger community.’
Mamdouh Khairallah, Regional Manager, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates, AGMC, BMW Importer, stressed, ‘This is the third year running that AGMC has sponsored the UAE Children’s Painting Competition, a demonstration of our commitment to developing our children’s awareness for preserving the environment. We are truly amazed by the children’s creativity and sensitivity towards the environment. BMW Group is committed to clean energy through the continuous development of hydrogen technology. As the sole importer for BMW Group products in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates, AGMC is fully dedicated to BMW Group’s Energy Strategy.’
It was wonderful to see the art of the youngest generation (the participation was open to children between 6 and 11 years). Through their paintings the children urged the need to be cautious about water wastage. Their works seem to show us precisely what needs to be done about reducing the consumption of water which is fast becoming a precious commodity being a non-renewable resource. Out of 750 schools, Westminster International School Dubai won the award for the largest participation with 624 entries.
Michel Noblet, CEO, HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings said, ‘The paintings have been very thoughtfully done and extremely stimulating. It is hard to comprehend how such young minds could come up with such intense works. Each year the children come up with a greater awareness.’ Michel is the initiator of this annual contest that was launched 5 years ago and has today become a strong movement.
Led by the UAE Ministry of Education, The Save Water Children’s Painting Competition brought together 30 top companies in the UAE including AGMC – BMW, Babyshop, ChoCo’a, Western Union, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, Philips, Al Ghurair City, New Zealand And Beyond, Apollo Flight Centre, MANAFA LLC, HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings, Palm Utilities, Toyworld, Palm International, Coral Beach Resort, Sharjah, McDonald’s, Virgin Megastore, Oasis, Al Leem Learning Centre, Guerlain, Microsoft, Just a Drop, Excellent Tours, Khaleej Times, Young Times, City 7 TV and Channel 4 Radio Network.
The winners were selected by a special jury headed by the UAE Ministry of Education. The jury was made up of renowned artists, journalists, art critics and experts.
A highlight of the Save Water Children’s Painting Competition 2007 was the participation of children with special needs from Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services and Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs.
Aside from the awards, there was plenty of fun lined up for the kids. Coral Beach Resort, Sharjah took good care of everybody with their delicious refreshments.