Big Heart gives $500,000 to curb impact of virus among refugees - GulfToday

Big Heart gives $500,000 to curb impact of virus among refugees


Pre-school children are taught how to wash their hands safely at Al Naby Al Bashir in Tripoli. File

The Sharjah-based global humanitarian organisation, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), has announced the allocation of $500,000 to boost healthcare capacities in sites hosting refugee and internally displaced people (IDP) in Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Bangladesh and Kenya.

This follows the global call made by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness The Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation, and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, in April 2020 to demonstrate solidarity and cooperation over the profound health, social, and economic concerns of refugees across these five nations under TBHF’s COVID-19 response fundraising campaign ‘Support Knows No Safe Distance’.

The entire amount has been raised through charitable contributions made by individuals and organizations worldwide, most notably, the UAE-based sustainability pioneer Bee’ah, Sharjah National Oil Cooperation, Sharjah Media City (SHAMS), Sharjah Airport and Sharjah COOP.

Furthering its commitment to protect underprivileged and vulnerable groups, this latest TBHF campaign seeks to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in refugee settlements as well as monitor the latest developments in the health situation across various refugee and IDP sites around the world.

With coordinated support from its key partners in these nations, TBHF has mobilised resources and prioritised activities to support programmes in health, educational awareness, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Each organisation will receive a sum of $100,000 each to address the most pressing protection, lifesaving and integration needs of refugees and displaced populations across these five countries.

In the UAE, TBHF has till date, provided food supplies to 660 families and 1,400 individuals who have been affected directly or indirectly by the spread of COVID-19. 

Two of the most well-known refugee camps in Africa – Kakuma and Dadaab camps in Kenya – will benefit from TBHF’s $100,000 project that seeks to provide scarce PPE (personal protective equipment) and medical supplies, in addition to providing support and training in infection, prevention and control activities to bolster service delivery to communities residing here.

International Rescue Committee (IRC), an organisation directly supporting vulnerable refugee populations in Kenya since 1992, is tasked with ensuring availability of adequate PPEs in the heavily populated Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps over a six-month period. These kits include examination gloves, industrial gloves, surgical face masks, N95 face masks, disposable goggles, and disposable gowns.

Isolation units at the camps will also be equipped with vital diagnostic equipment to accurately detect and treat the virus.

With almost 30,000 direct beneficiaries including health staff and indirectly impacting 120,000 people from the wider community, TBHF’s COVID-19 response efforts in Bangladesh in partnership with UK based non-profit Penny Appeal, seeks to improve public health response capacity by providing medical and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) supplies via health facilities situated in the Rohingya refugee camps and surrounding host communities in Cox’s bazar.

Lebanon, hosting one of the highest number of refugees per capita in the world, will be able to address the healthcare and wellbeing needs of 1,000 child refugees and their families, under the aegis of Save the Children, an organisation responding to emergency and development needs of kids, adolescents, youth and families in the country for more than six decades.

In addition, the funds will also meet the PPE needs of staff and health partners of Save the Children. The two-month period of the project also aims to focus on protecting the mental health of young children and provide them with psychosocial support. A total of 150 Happy Kids kits will be distributed to needy families.

The Happy Kid Kit contains recreational resources that enable children to stay active and engaged while at home, and express their feelings through painting, drawing, and other activities, to ease the psychological distress caused by the crisis. The kit will be distributed to those kids who are staying in isolation on account of the quarantining of a family member or caregiver.

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