Firoz Merchant, a Dubai-based Indian businessman and philanthropist, became the first expatriate to receive prestigious community service medal in UAE. The 59-year-old businessman is the founder and chairman of Pure Gold Jewellers. Merchant, who has donated 15 million dirhams ($4 million) to pay off the debts of more than 10,000 prisoners in the country, was honoured by UAE government, as per a report by Arab News. Merchant received his award from the UAE’s deputy prime minister and interior minister, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Sheikh Saif appreciated Merchant’s philanthropic work and also urged him to continue it. He promised all necessary cooperation from government to Merchant.
Merchant dedicated the award to his countrymen living in and outside UAE. He was quoted as saying that whatever he had done, which he will continue to do, is for the love of the UAE and India. “I represent my country and the UAE is my second home. I will do whatever I can for this beautiful country and its people,” he said.
As per the report by Arab News, since 2008 Merchant has settled financial obligations of 10,940 people held in UAE jails, often after they had completed their sentences, because they could not clear their debts. In the month of May, Merchant signed a memorandum of understanding with the UAE’s Faraj Fund, a charity initiative that seeks to promote the welfare of inmates in the country, PTI reported. His another initiative to provide financial aid to Ajman Police for the medical treatment of a policeman suffering from the neurological disorder is also underway. PTI reported an amount of Dh60,000 shall be allocated for his Chinese acupuncture treatment in Jordan.