Sharjah: The Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support paves the way for a greater investment in supporting refugees in their hour of need and provides hope for a better future.

The award, launched in January 2017 by Her Highness Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, aims to recognise and pay tribute to those who have made distinguished humanitarian efforts for refugees and displaced families in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Shaikha Jawaher is also the Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, and Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF).

The award winners will receive a cash prize of $100,000 (Dh367,290) along with a trophy and certificate of appreciation, during a special ceremony to be held in Sharjah, according to TBHF, who supervises the award in collaboration with UNHCR.

The Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support’s main goal is to support outstanding efforts and initiatives that are launched to improve the lives of millions of individuals and families who have been displaced from their homes. It honours the efforts of people who dedicate their lives and devote their time to alleviating the suffering of others, as well as encouraging and inspiring further efforts.

Its launch is in line with TBHF’s unwavering commitment to end the suffering of refugees and inspiring individuals and organisations to contribute to improving the lives of those who have been so cruelly affected.

It also symbolises the path of kindness, sacrifice and philanthropy embraced by the UAE, and reaffirms the role played by the emirate of Sharjah in supporting humanitarian initiatives at regional as well as international levels.

Amid the many man-made conflicts and dramatic natural disasters that sweep across many countries in the world, the plight of refugees continues to become worse each day, marking the biggest human migration of the 21st century.

There has been a significant increase in the number of refugees as a result of turmoil in a number of Arab countries and other Asian and North African states. According to UNHCR reports, 39 per cent of the world’s displaced population is being hosted in MENA, with 13.5 million people in need in Syria; more than 3 million displaced inside Iraq; 82 per cent of the 27 million people residing in Yemen in need of humanitarian assistance; and over 5 million Palestinians are refugees. These are the highest recorded numbers of displaced people since World War II. This does not include 350,000 Libyans and 3.74 million Sudanese nationals who are displaced in some manner.

Strong and continued charitable humanitarian assistance is the need of the hour, which makes the launch of the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support more relevant than ever.