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“The Sultan of Charity” | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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“The Sultan of Charity”

“The Sultan of Charity”

“The Sultan of Charity”

Riyadh – “Everything I own in Saudi Arabia , including land and buildings, except my private house, are the property of the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Charity Foundation.” Every citizen in the Kingdom remembers the words of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz describing his charitable work. The Governor of Riyadh, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz adequately summarized the character and efforts of Prince Sultan, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Inspector General, when he said: “Prince Sultan is by nature, ever since his childhood, a charitable person; he works for charity, gives to charity, and wherever he goes, he has to be involved in charitable acts. Truly, Prince Sultan is a charitable foundation in his own right!”

It is difficult to estimate the number of charitable programs Crown Prince Sultan is involved in, in spite of having previously held several official positions, 2 nd Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Inspector General, as well as heading a number of committees and council that oversee a number of government departments, and welcoming guests and ambassadors to the Kingdom. His office and home, in every city he has visited, are always full of visitors who flock to pay their respects, ask for his assistance, or request he personally intervenes to end a longstanding problem or ailment.

As soon as requests are made to Crown Prince Sultan, in person or through letters forwarded to him by his office or Palace officials, in the overwhelming majority of the cases, genuine and valid problems will be solved.

Financial assistance and medical help

In a large number of situations, the intervention of Crown Prince Sultan has changed people’s lives and brought an end to the difficulties of families that had lost all hope because of financial ruin, lack of housing, or untreatable illnesses. His Royal Highness’ insistence on offering treatment to the sick, transporting them to hospital, financing those in need using his personal fortune, and forwarding the demands of some individuals to the relevant authorities is legendary. His crowning achievement, in the health sector, is the establishment of the largest medical center for rehabilitation in the world. Crown Prince Sultan is famous for accepting all valid demands for help to the extent that visitors speak of heading to “The Sultan of Charity” because of his generosity to everybody who knocks at his door.

At every function organized by the charities he manages, Crown Prince Sultan never hesitates to announce his support for the projects underway and contribute generously to ensure they succeed and flourish. His Royal Highness has even saved the lives of several individuals sentenced to death by offering the victim’s family compensation that can reach millions of Saudi Riyals.

Humanitarian Personality of the Year 2002

As recognition of his considerable involvement in charity in the Arab world, Crown Prince Sultan was voted “Humanitarian Charity Personality of the Year” in 2002, by the Sheikh Rashed al Maktoum Center in the United Arab Emirates , after receiving over half of the 10,000 votes sent to the selection committee. So far, only four individuals who are leading figures recognized for their charity work across the region have been awarded the prize, which is awarded every two years.

Exact figures on the Crown Prince’s charitable work are hard to come by because his involvement and numerous contributions are spread out worldwide, his work is surrounded by secrecy, and his upbringing means he gives generously without expecting anything in return.

Perhaps the initiative taken by His Royal Highness to pay off the debts of former international sports star Abdullah Suleiman, who has been in jail until last week, for a sum of 2,000000 Saudi Riyals (533,000 USD) is a good indicator of the degree Crown Prince Sultan is concerned with the needs and suffering of Saudi citizens.

His Royal Highness crowned his efforts by establishing the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Charity Foundation, inaugurated on 21st January 1995 to provide humanitarian, social, cultural, and educational services inside the Kingdom and around the world. The Foundation is divided into four subdivisions: The Sultan bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City, the largest medical rehabilitation centre in the world that offers various medical services, the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Science & Technology Center offering scientific and technological services, the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Special Education Program which offers educational and vocational services, and the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Arab and Islamic Studies Program at the University of California, Berkley that offers educational services.

The Sultan bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City is regarded as the largest medical rehabilitation center in the world. Built over one million square meters in Binban, a small community 30 km north of Riyadh , the City occupies 200,000 square metres. It includes a rehabilitation complex, a recovery centre, an ambulatory care centre, a health spa, outpatient clinics for various specialties, a child development centre, and housing facilities. The complex provides highly developed rehabilitation programs and full rehabilitative care for patients, outpatient treatment for the disabled, as well as continuous physical, social, physiological, and spiritual healthcare. The City also finances a dozen of medical students to specialize abroad, offers financial grants to charity foundations, and establishes low-cost housing units, in addition to offering universal healthcare.

Crown Prince Sultan was praised for adopting a universal medical project in Riyadh when he said; “I will personally take care of all the expenses” after discovering a centre for treating cardiac diseases and surgery was behind schedule because of financial problems. His intervention saved the project and the centre was built with money donated by His Royal Highness. It opened its doors in 1997 as a unit of the Armed Forces Hospital in Riyadh and was quickly transformed into one of the world’s largest centres to treat cardiac problems. Renamed the Prince Sultan Cardiac Centre, it was equipped with the latest technology; many Saudis who used to travel abroad seeking treatment have benefited from its excellent facilities and qualified staff with many complex and rare surgical operations conducted successfully.