Big Heart Foundation launches $1.6m projects for refugees - GulfToday

Big Heart Foundation launches $1.6m projects for refugees


The five humanitarian projects were announced at a virtual press conference held on Tuesday.

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

Continuing its empowering work to shape a more humane, just, and inclusive future for forcibly displaced populations worldwide, The Big Heart Foundation has announced the allocation of $1.6 million to launch five humanitarian projects in Kenya, Pakistan and Jordan.

Making the announcement at a virtual press conference held on Tuesday, the Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity foundation dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, said the projects to enhance education, healthcare and community empowerment would be implemented in collaboration with its strategic and long-established partner, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Outlining the key humanitarian initiatives the two entities would undertake in the coming period, Khaled Khalifa, Senior Adviser and Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries; said, “We are grateful to The Big Heart Foundation for its continued endeavour to alleviate the suffering of refugees and displaced persons across the world. This generous contribution will translate into a better future for more than 25,000 less fortunate individuals at a time when the world requires exceptional levels of solidarity and support to be extended to the most vulnerable communities.

“We take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at UNHCR, for all her efforts to support women and children affected by war and conflict. We are proud to call her a role model for Arab women, who continues to inspire us with several humanitarian initiatives in the East and West,” he added.

Speaking at the event, The Big Heart Foundation Director Mariam Al Hammadi said, “Social inclusion of refugees involves providing them with equal opportunities and experiences which enable them to develop knowledge, skills, and competencies, to play a full part in all aspects of society. The integration of refugees only begins when we accept them as a part of our community and contributors to its development, not just cases of a humanitarian emergency.”

Highlighting The Big Heart Foundation and UNHCR’s joint efforts at the frontlines of tackling the many complex and long-standing challenges of refugees and displaced populations worldwide, Al Hammadi said the announcement of the new projects gives fresh hope for refugees.

“The foundation has today pledged $1.6 million to support the education, health, and community empowerment sectors in refugee communities in Pakistan, Kenya, and Jordan in coordination with the UNHCR, following comprehensive field visits to Pakistan and Kenya,” she said.

In Pakistan, the foundation will finance the establishment of a training centre for refugee women, while also supporting the rehabilitation of four existing training centres serving around 3,000 Afghan refugee women who live in a community of 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees.

The humanitarian organisation has backed the efforts of Jordan’s Ministry of Health to curb the spread of COVID-19, including the coverage of referral costs of 190 refugees with serious medical conditions such as cardiac ailments and blood disorders. The project will also support in the provision of critical reproductive health services including normal and Caesarean delivery, high-risk pregnancy, complicated births, and neonatal care.

In Kenya, girls constitute only 24.5% of total enrolment; and hence, to improve their access to secondary schooling and enhance their learning outcomes, The Big Heart Foundation will support the construction of the ‘Big Heart Secondary School for Girls’. This boarding school will accommodate about 360 girls residing in the north-western region. The school’s construction is underway with an expected opening in June 2021.

To improve the healthcare services in the camp, The Big Heart Foundation has allocated $266,000 to cover the operating costs of a health clinic that serves the needs of about 22,000 refugees who are vulnerable to many communicable and non-communicable diseases such as malaria, measles and cholera due to increased population in the camp, new arrivals with poor immunisation, inadequate water and sanitation facilities and poor knowledge.

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