Dubai Film Festival's "One Night to Change Lives" Gala Raises over $500,000 for Dubai Cares and Oxfam's War on Poverty

A galaxy of Hollywood stars including Academy Award winner Colin Firth and his wife Livia, Kristin Davis, Rooney Mara and Freida Pinto descended at the ‘One Night to Change Lives’ charity auction hosted by the Dubai International Film Festival in aid of UAE-based philanthropic organisation, Dubai Cares, and global development and aid agency, Oxfam. A total of more than US$ 500,000 was raised during the auction, reaffirming the overwhelming success of this charity event for the second successive year. All proceeds from the auction, which featured an exciting array of treasured celebrity items and experiences, went to Dubai Cares and Oxfam. 


Kristin Davis


Rooney Mara


The charity auction and gala dinner were held under the patronage of UN Messenger of Peace HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Armani Hotel in Dubai.

 Oxfam’s celebrity global ambassadors underscored the importance of the group’s humanitarian work, and they are in unison in expressing appreciation for the opportunity of working with Oxfam to reach out to the needy of the world. 


One Night Changes Lives Gala

Colin Firth, one of the group’s highly-respected campaigner for over a decade said in his speech, “Oxfam works hard to provide children in need access to basic education and around 6.4 million people are extremely thankful to Oxfam for this. I certainly believe that poverty is man-made, and that individual lives can be changed and we can work together in changing lives.”

Kristin Davis, another long-time supporter of Oxfam, shared, “I’m very proud to be here especially when you know that donations go to children. I value what Oxfam does. I’ve travelled with them to so many countries to support projects and I’m really very proud to be here in this event to make a huge difference in children’s lives.” 

The female celebrities were a sight to behold on the red carpet as they wore signature pieces from global fashion houses: Dior for Kristin Davis, Valentino for Freida Pinto, and Calvin Klein for Rooney Mara. 


Frieda Pinto

Among the most sought-after items at the auction was a once in a lifetime experience donated by Oxfam Ambassador Scarlett Johansson to see her perform in the opening night of Broadway’s ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ as well as a meet-and-greet opportunity with the Hollywood star, two return business class flights to New York and two nights’ accommodation at The London NYC hotel.

Another major attraction of the auction was the red “Valentino for the GCC” gown worn to the 2012 Oscars by Livia Firth. The exclusive auction package also included a chance to spend a day with renowned editor of Vogue Italia, Franca Sozzani, and her team at the Vogue headquarters in Milan as well as two nights’ accommodation at the luxurious Armani Hotel in Milan.

Also included in the auction was a beautiful Chopard 18 carat rose gold and stainless steel watch; an oil on canvas painting by Nasser Ovissi donated by the Farjam Collection, one of the most impressive privately-owned collections in the world today; an Ecological Fairtrade and Fairmined certified 18 carat white gold ring and earrings set from the award winning fine jeweller Anna Loucah; and ‘Allure of Arabia’, a unique pendant created by renowned jewellery designer Kholoud Osama Kurdi.

There was also an opportunity to pledge on a vital project from Dubai Cares and Oxfam in rural Tanzania to improve access to clean water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene promotion for approximately 15,000 school children living in 25 communities. The project recognises that clean water and sanitation in schools are critical to ensure that children complete their education.


Dubai Cares...doing the good work for the war against poverty...

Education is a critical factor in every child’s development. Yet, millions of children around the world, particularly in developing countries, do not have access to quality primary education.

Education is also the most effective tool to break the cycle of poverty, a belief held by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It was with this belief and a desire to give children - regardless of their nationality, creed or religion - the opportunity to become positive contributors to society, that His Highness launched Dubai Cares in September 2007.

The launch marked the beginning of a fundraising campaign with AED 200 million as its target. Yet contributions far exceeded expectations, reaching over AED1.7 billion (USD480 million) – nearly nine fold the initial target. This achievement is a testament to the humanitarian values deeply rooted in UAE traditions and culture. It also shows the commitment of communities in the UAE to His Highness’ vision.

As part of its mandate, Dubai Cares works in countries with chronic deficiencies in primary education where it implements development programs that target the underlying causes preventing children from accessing quality primary education.  Comprehensive in scope, the philanthropic organization's primary education programs integrate four key components:  School Infrastructure; School Health & Nutrition; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) in Schools; and Quality of Education.

Since its launch, Dubai Cares has partnered with international aid agencies, private foundations and NGOs including American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, buildOn, Care International, The End Fund, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Global Network, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, Médecins Sans Frontières, Microsoft, Oxfam, Partnership for Child Development, Plan International, Room to Read, Save the Children, Scholastic, Teri Press, UNICEF, UNRWA, WaterAid and World Food Program.

To date, Dubai Cares has implemented comprehensive primary education programs in 28 countries including Angola, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Laos, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sir Lanka, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Zambia and with Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.

In a short time, Dubai Cares, with the help of communities in the UAE, is making a difference in the lives of children and their communities.

To date, Dubai Cares is:

  • Reaching more than 7 million children in 28 developing countries
  • Building and renovating over 1,500 schools and classrooms
  • Providing more than 1,000 water wells and potable water sources and constructing over 3,000 latrines in schools
  • Providing nutritious food everyday to more than 490,000 children in schools
  • Keeping more than 1.5 million children free from intestinal worms through its de-worming activities
  • Distributing over 2 million books written in local languages
  • Establishing over 6,600 Parent-Teacher Associations
  • Training over 23,000 teachers


To support Dubai Cares

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