GEMS Philanthropic Mission

Varkey Foundation

Over the last 50 years, we have raised over USD 40 million for charities around the world.

At GEMS, we pride ourselves on being citizens of the world. We believe it is our responsibility to give back to the communities we are part of.

Our students are brought up to display compassion and a social conscience towards those who are not as fortunate as they are.

Through various welfare programmes initiated by us at local and international levels, GEMS students contribute to improving lives and making the world a better place.

Varkey Foundation: The philanthropic arm of GEMS Education

In January 2010, GEMS Education marked its Golden Jubilee with a commitment: to improve the quality and accessibility of education for the less fortunate worldwide.

This was our primary motivation to set up the Varkey Foundation, our philanthropic arm.

According to UNESCO, around 57 million children do not have the means to attend primary school – and an additional 71 million children lack the resources for a secondary school education.

The Varkey Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving education conditions on many fronts.

We also partner with like-minded organisations such as UNESCO, Oxfam and Dubai Cares on a number of these projects.

Some of our projects in these disadvantaged communities include:

  • Training teachers in economically challenged areas to lift the overall standards of education.
  • Building classrooms and rebuilding schools, to provide a safer learning environment for children in Pakistan and Kenya.
  • Creating low cost, highly replicable science centres in rural India.
  • Providing mid-day school meals to children who can’t afford them.

Global Teacher Prize

The Global Teacher Prize is a US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

The prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated.

It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them.

Who is behind the Global Teacher Prize?

The Global Teacher Prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Emir of Dubai.

The Prize is open to currently working teachers who teach children that are in compulsory schooling, or are between the ages of five and eighteen.

Teachers who teach on a part-time basis are also eligible, as are teachers of online courses.

The Prize is open to teachers in every kind of school and, subject to local laws, in every country in the world.

The public can nominate a teacher, or teachers can apply themselves by filling an application form at

If teachers are being nominated, the person nominating them will write a brief description online explaining why. 

The teacher being nominated will then be sent an email letting them know they’ve been nominated and inviting them to apply for the prize. 

Applicants can apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.

To join the conversation online follow @TeacherPrize and #teachersmatter on: and