In 2011, the city of Joplin was rocked to its core by the intense power of a tornado that touched down and caused massive damage. The schools in Joplin were damaged by this tornado greatly. This is something that caused a major upset for teachers, parents, and students all over Joplin. The school district was at a loss for how they were going to repair the schools after this natural disaster happened. An unlikely call was received one afternoon at the Joplin school district offices. On the other end of the phone was a representative of the United Arab Emirates.
A representative of the UAE embassy had contacted the school district to reach out and lend a helping hand. Seeing as how 6 schools were destroyed during the tornado, the UAE were looking for ways to help the 2,200 students affected by this tragedy. The UAE asked the school district to dream big. This is just what the school district did. There was no way that they could afford to replace all of the laptops lost in this tragedy, so the school district asked for 2,200 hundred laptops from the UAE. They responded by supplying the school district with 2,200 brand new MacBooks for the students affected by this tragedy.
The UAE didn’t just stop there. They also donated $5 million dollars to help rebuild the destroyed hospital in Joplin. A neonatal care unit was crucial to this hospital which was not a part of the reconstruction plans. The $5 million that was donated by the UAE to help reconstruct the hospital was used for the addition of a neonatal care unit.
Artists Rebecca Perry and Jo Meuller have worked together to create two incredible sculptures as a thank you to the UAE. These sculptures have been taken to the UAE Ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba as a token of gratitude for the amazing help that was given to Joplin during its time of need. The largest of the two sculptures represents a tree and is 2 feet tall. With colors of both the UAE flag and US flag, this sculpture represents the unity between these two nations during this time of need.