‘Humanitarian of the year awarded to young female charity founder for inspiring others to make a difference’
Dubai, UAE, 8 March 2017: International Women’s Day has been celebrated with an honouring of role models in the Middle East by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.
The WOW Film Fair Middle East Charity Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony took place on Tuesday night, where H.E. Sheikh Nahayan presented the main film festival awards as well as others, recognising high achieving women and men in the Middle East across various fields.
Award winners were gifted with Dhamani pearl necklaces or cufflinks for the following categories Humanitarian of the Year, Business Leader of the Year, Personality of the Year, Sports Leader of the Year, Male Champions of Change and Rising Talent Leader of the Year.
Charity Founder, 27 year old, Sarah Brook was awarded with Humanitarian of the Year in the Middle East for her social enterprise The Sparkle Foundation which helps create brighter futures for children around the world. The Brit splits her time between PR and CSR consultancy work in Dubai to generate an income, and regular trips to Africa to manage the foundation, as well as giving inspirational talks to women, corporates and students across the UAE on how every individual can make a difference.
“I am truly honoured to have been recognised for my work but none of it would have been possible without all the amazing support I have received across the Middle East. Time is the most valuable asset people can offer and I am so fortunate to be living in a place which has a national strategy centred around giving back to others,” Brook said.
“Everyone is able to contribute in their own special way and for me if I am able to inspire people to give back, in whatever way they can, I can then match their skill sets and resources with the Sparkle need and make a real sustainable long term impact on the lives of others.
She hopes the award will help raise the profile of the foundation and encourage the support of one of the authorised UAE charities, so she can legally raise funds in the Dubai to continue operating her African project and hopefully one day replicate the model in the Middle East.
“Having faced death numerous times, a wrongful arrest in Malawi and a number of personal and financial challenges along the way, there have been many times it would have been easier for me to give up but I knew I had to stand up and fight for what I believe in and the rights children around the world deserve,” Brook added. “If we can encourage more people, especially women, to have a voice and be heard, the world will eventually become a brighter place.”
All proceeds of the event were donated to the Al Jalila Foundation, a global philanthropic organisation, which was established by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to position Dubai at the forefront of medical innovation.
The six-day fair was showcasing 31 films created predominantly by female filmmakers, producers and screenwriters from 24 countries across five continents. The WOW Film Fair Middle East is produced by Dubai-based Straight Street Media whose CEO Hermoine Macura is the event’s Founder and Director.
Supported by the Australian governments Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR), the festival is held in association with VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, with films also showing at various locations. To find out the latest show information, visit wowmiddleeast.com or follow the event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Award winners included.
Rising Talent Leader of the Year (Film Maker award)
Sarah Al Hashmi, Director of the documentary film, Lemonade
Maitha Al Awahdi, Director of the film, “X”
Business Leader of the Year
Jelena Bin Drai
Personality of the Year:
Lina Malas, Managing Partner and Head of Corporate and Leadership Development at Aventura, Dubai – the largest nature adventure park of its kind in the GCC region
Sports Leader of the Year
Dolores Al Shelleh, the first Jordanian to summit Mount Kilimanjaro and is currently on a journey to complete the world’s seven summits
Humanitarian of the Year
Sarah Brook, CEO and Founder of The Sparkle Foundation, a social enterprise, established to create brighter sustainable futures for vulnerable people around the world.
Male Champions of Change
Samer Al Hallaq, Area Vice President-Astra Zeneca, Middle East
Mansoor Al Dhaheri, award winning visionary and director of Little Sparta, the 2016 film celebrating the fighting prowess, training and courage of the UAE Armed Forces