Malegaon: Congratulatory messages and phone calls don't seem to end for Sara Iqbal Ansari - a Grade 7 student and Leena Iqbal Ansari - a Grade 4 student, who received the prestigious Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance Wednesday night.
[Sara Iqbal receiving the award from Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.]
The two sisters, whose parents hail from Malegaon - a Muslim dominated town in North Maharashtra, were given, during the 17th cycle of the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance, the Distinguished Student cup, certificate and a cash prize of Dh20,000 (about 3.5 lakh Indian rupees) each to encourage them to continue pursuing their education with diligence.
"The two sisters are not only excellent in academics but also in drawing and painting, arts and craft, swimming, roller skating, ice skating", Ismail Ansari, their grandfather, said while talking to ummid.com on phone from Dubai.
He said the two also actively participate in community Development Programs, and charitable events like Clean Up Drive, Go Green Drive, Dubai Cares Initiatives, Breast Cancer Walks, Marathons, and have also worked for the empowerment of the orphan girls in Malegaon and Sharja orphanages.
"Both are extremely confident, responsible and dependable, never missing school and carry 100% attendance record in most of the academic years", Ansari added.
"They are very vibrant, focused and energetic. They effectively manage their time, works under strict discipline and recognizes the importance of school, studies and extra-curricular activities alike", he said.
[Leena Iqbal receiving the award from Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.]
Along with the two sisters from Malegaon, over 220 other students and 11 teachers were also honoured. Among them is Jane Matthew - an eight-year-old Indian girl, who has also been named as the winner of this year’s Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performances.
Jane Matthew is the second student from the Central School Dubai to win the award. Her sister, Ann Mary, was the winner last year.
The students who won the award attend various public and private schools in the country, including The Indian High School, GEMS Millennium School, Our Own English High School, Dubai National School, the Fujairah Academy of Islamic Teachings, and Al Ain Juniors School. Eleven teachers from Al Ain, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah were also honored.
The award was established in 1998 after a decree by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, as a way of recognising excellence in educational performance and fostering talent.
An estimated 63 per cent of participants from Dubai, 41 per cent from Abu Dhabi, and 52 per cent from Sharjah won the Award in various categories. Out of 20 participating universities and colleges, 11 were honoured.
Participants hail from across the Arab world and include teachers, academically distinguished families, research groups, and social and guidance counsellors.
There are 14 local categories, four in the GCC, and an Arab educational research award. A Unesco-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum prize for outstanding practice and performance in enhancing the effectiveness of teachers is also granted every other year.