The Big Heart Foundation is shaping a better future for 492 underprivileged students from a cross-section of nationalities in the UAE.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian organiSation dedicated to supporting refugees and people in need worldwide, is shaping a better future for 492 underprivileged students from a cross-section of nationalities in the UAE under the umbrella of its first UAE-based project, The Big Heart Educational Centre.
The centre targets beneficiaries in two categories in the 10 – 26 age group. The first one comprises children and adults who had to leave school at an early age and flee their conflict-ridden home countries with their families in search of peace. They benefit from remedial courses and learning assistance at the centre, whose curriculum is designed to get admission in appropriate grades in UAE schools.
The second category targets 18+ individuals who either completed high school but did not have the financial resources go to college, or who do not have a school education and require training to enter the job market. They come to the TBHF Educational Centre to undergo vocational training and be equipped with the skillsets required to succeed in the job market.
The Dhs2,172,300 project, launched in 2019 in partnership with UAE-based Rawafed Development and Learning Centre, is situated on a 6,000 sqm plot of land in the Al Yarmouk area donated by Al Tunaiji Real Estate.
Educational and vocational training programmes
The curriculum at the Big Heart Educational Centre consists of two programmes. The first one, Tamkeen, focuses on providing children and young adults, with the necessary learning assistance. Around 125 students enrolled in the Tamkeen programme in the 2019-20 academic year, which grew to196 students in 2020-21.
The second programme, Ta'heel, is designed to equip youth with management, planning, marketing, and digital skillsets required for the 21st-century job market. The programme had 86 beneficiaries in the 2019-20 academic year, and supported 85 Tamkeen and high school graduates in 2020-21.
Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “The Big Heart Educational Centre represents a significant step in TBHF's efforts to provide UAE residents who experienced hardships in their home countries the necessary support to fully integrate in their communities by being contributing members. Here, they develop the necessary skillsets to change their circumstances for the better, and subsequently, positively impact their families too”.
She added: "The project aligns with the vision and directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of TBHF and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at UNHCR, to provide opportunities for development to as many underprivileged children and youth as possible while also boosting solidarity in the Emirati community."
Al Hammadi lauded the efforts and contributions of Rawafed Development and Learning Centre to provide unique development solutions for children and youth. She added that the centre's partnership with TBHF to empower resident youth and children in the UAE reflected the strong values of social solidarity in Sharjah and the nation.
On World Humanitarian Day, observed annually on August 19, Mariam Al Hammadi said: “Natural disasters and imposing climate change records have been leading on humanitarian crises and disasters exceeding impact of wars and conflicts. In 2020, 9.8 million men, women and children were directly impacted by wars, while 30 million people were displaced globally due to climate change and extreme weather conditions. These numbers are set to rise significantly this year following a series of record-breaking weather events such as devastating wildfires, heatwaves and flooding in different regions worldwide.”
The 2021 World Humanitarian Day focuses on the immediate human costs incurred by the climate crises, most notably displacement, poverty, lack of access to basic needs and infrastructure.
The United Nations (UN) has issued a wake-up call to presidents, heads of state and governments on behalf of affected peoples and communities, stressing that “time is running out and immediate measures should be taken to protect the most vulnerable people.”
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