Sharjah: Generous donations made by UAE residents and citizens to the The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) will be used to support 143 displaced Iraqi families and build a community centre for thousands of Syrian refugees in Aleppo.
The Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity announced that proceeds from their latest fund-raising campaign have been allocated to fund these two community initiatives, in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Jordan and Syria.
A total of $40,557 (Dh148,970) will be taken up by a month-long cash assistance initiative to uplift 143 Iraqi refugee families seeking asylum in Jordan’s urban areas.
The cash assistance will help families repay their loans, participate in and benefit the host economy, and especially help female-led households facing cultural, legal and economic discrimination.
Another $240,750 (Dh884,323) will be used to provide community-based protection activities through increasing UNHCR outreach, by establishing this community centre in Aleppo.
The community centre project proposal is the outcome of year-long discussions between TBHF and UNHCR — one of TBHF’s 2018–19 strategies, which aims to offer the internally displaced Syrian communities longer term rehabilitation and support while bolstering Aleppo’s rebuilding efforts.
The project aims to meet the multiplying needs of Syrian internally displaced persons (IDPs) and conflict-affected communities with a particular focus on legal aid, to be used for providing people with better access to housing and quicker, transparent land and property documentation.
This legal support will also be aimed at protecting children and offer strengthened prevention/response mechanisms to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
“Rebuilding social support networks are crucial to the long-term welfare of small and emerging refugee communities as well as internally displaced,” said Mariam Al Hammadi, TBHF director.
“The Zakat donations by the UAE will have a far-reaching impact on our and UNHCR’s efforts to integrate these vulnerable communities into society by offering financial and infrastructural assistance, without which they will not be able to overcome their desperate situation today.”
Al Hammadi said these TBHF initiatives go over and above offering basic aid as they are aimed at re-establishing independent community structures by offering support networks for a longer term, which act as key coping and survival mechanisms during times of acute hardship that the communities face today.
“This campaign helped those in the UAE who are fortunate to live more comfortable, privileged lives an opportunity to think and take action for those who have the most uncertain future. Community service is one of the noblest acts by humanity, and Ramadan and Eid gave us the opportunity to come forward and make a positive impact on the world.”
Toby Harward, UNHCR’s Head of Office in the UAE, stressed the importance of this support: “We value our partnership we have with TBHF, and we warmly appreciate the solidarity and support that UAE citizens have shown for refugees during the holy month of Ramadan. This contribution enables to expand our network of protection and livelihood in Syria and Jordan.”
Meanwhile, the Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, Sharjah is set to host the third edition of the ‘Investing in the Future’ (IIFMENA) conference on October 24 and 25.
The event, organised by the charity under the theme ‘Youth: crisis challenges and development opportunities’, is dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide.
This year’s edition aims to highlight youth-related issues to sustainable development across the world, especially focusing on areas affected by wars, conflicts and disasters. The event will underscore the role of youth in the development process and how they can shape their future and build their countries