Reach Out To Asia (Rota) raised over $15.22mn for its education projects in Asia and the Middle East at an auction held during its sixth Gala Dinner, organised under the patronage of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday.
Details of the final proceeds from the event were still awaited at the time of going to press.
Held at the Al Shaqab Indoor Arena of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), the event was attended by HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani; HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson, QF; HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairperson, Rota; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, in addition to a number of their excellencies sheikhs and several other dignitaries from Qatar and the wider Arab region. The event was held under the theme “Team up today, Shape up tomorrow”.
Rota is marking its 10th anniversary.
Speaking at the event, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said: “Today we live in a period of time when many countries are experiencing disputes and conflicts, which have deprived children and young people of one of the most important rights to life, namely education.
“So, it was our goal in Rota to get education to these children in their countries torn by conflicts, and we were able - by the grace of God and the support of donors - to launch several educational projects in order to serve the children and youth of those areas.
“We defend the right of children to get education, and also believe in the right of young people to participate in the decisions that shape the future of their communities. That is why Rota has launched several initiatives to empower young people at the local, regional and international levels.”
She also said Rota’s efforts were a way to express Qatar’s gratitude to expatriates of different countries working in Qatar. “A large number of expatriate workers have been involved in constructing stadiums and other infrastructure for the development of Qatar. This is our way of thanking them by providing education to the children and empowering the youth in the countries of those workers,” she added.
During the event, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa  presented Rota’s “Lifetime Achievement in 2016” award to Palestinian teacher Ahmed Sawafiri in recognition of his achievements and his work in the educational field.
At the Gala Dinner, international auction house Sotheby’s opened bidding for a number of rare items as well as a special trip for two to the edge of space on an aircraft that will take them to more than “100,000ft within the layers of the planet’s atmosphere”.
The auction also featured a Patek Philippe dome table clock and a Qatari Natural Jeewan pearl necklace offered by Al Majed Jewellery; a Hermès men’s trunk donated by Wissam al-Mana; as well as a 2017 BMW M3 30 Jahre Limited Edition donated by Alfardan Automobiles, in addition to a Louis Moinet Mecanograph limited-edition watch.
The proceeds will fund existing and future Rota education initiatives in Bangladesh (Opportunities for Life programme), Indonesia (1 in 11 campaign, in partnership with Unicef and FC Barcelona Foundation) and Yemen (Bringing Back Hope), and for Syrian refugees in Jordan (I Had a Dream), Lebanon (Longing to Learn) and Turkey (Project Tomorrow).  
Proceeds from the fifth Rota Gala Dinner held in 2014 were used to support Syrian refugees in Lebanon, youth in Nepal and the West Bank, and to rehabilitate schools in Tunisia, the official Qatar News Agency reported.

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