Dubai: In line with its mandate to safeguard and empower marginalised populations in vulnerable situations around the world, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), an UAE-based global humanitarian organisation, has provided support worth more than Dh31 million through 28 multi-sectoral projects during 2021. This financial support has touched the lives of more than 590,000 people across 12 countries impacted by conflict, natural disasters as well as ongoing global health crisis.
Support extended to five vital sectors
By supporting five vital sectors such as education, health care, humanitarian aid and emergency relief, as well as protection and livelihood, TBHF’s international philanthropic response has helped rehabilitate underprivileged people who have been forcibly displaced due to conflicts, social ills and/or natural disasters, in their respective countries, under the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), and eminent advocate for Refugee Children at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Supporting sustainable development projects
Among a series of development projects implemented by TBHF in 2021 are helping bridge gaps in five vital sectors and fulfilling the urgent needs of communities in the target countries, which brought fundamental change in the lives of refugees and the displaced. The most notable projects include:
Humanitarian aid and emergency relief
From providing emergency medical services to those injured in conflict zones and assisting with surgical and mental health support to providing protective winter clothing, safe and nutritious food, repair of homes using durable treated bamboo, and supply of food parcels and hygiene kits, TBHF funded Dh5,153,856 to meet the humanitarian aid and emergency relief of 8,506 beneficiaries across six countries.
Its various partners included UNHCR in Lebanon and Bangladesh, Penny Appeal in Jordan and Iraq, Medicin Sans Frontieres (MSF) and Welfare Association in Palestine, and MEK in Egypt.
In 2021, TBHF’s funding of Dh10,218,176 provided timely and essential health services to more than 525,500 individuals in five countries. These services ranged from the purchase and equipping of a full-fledged mobile clinic in Sudan, Iraq and Somaliland, to the provision of urgent out-of-stock cancer medications in Lebanon. In Gaza, Palestine, TBHF steered efforts in combating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing a computerised information system in three primary health centres and the installation of an oxygen generator and solar energy system at a health organisation.
CCCL, WHO, Aster Clinic, and Welfare Association partnered with TBHF to fulfil the medical needs of communities in these countries.
Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Egypt and the UAE received Dh7,826,631 to develop a reading culture and foster a love for books and learning under TBHF’s goal of empowering 14,180 young generations through education, including those impacted by the disruption of formal and non-formal education during the pandemic.
TBHF’s partners in improving both the school learning environment and outcomes in these countries included We Love Reading, Refushe, UNICEF, MEK, and Rawafed Development and Learning Center.
Through TBHF’s Dh4,045,800 for provision of specialised protection interventions of 40,100 beneficiaries in Lebanon, Turkey and Mauritania, conflict-impacted children and adults with specific needs received significant physical and mental health support, leading to positive outcomes on the wellbeing of the beneficiaries.
TBHF partnered with INARA and UNHCR for these projects.
TBHF’s approach to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable communities led to the funding of Dh4,005,800 to develop five projects in three countries in partnership with two major partners benefiting 2,260 lives.
In collaboration with The Lotus Flower in Iraq, TBHF economically empowered almost 2,000 women with financial support and business mentorship.
Enabling and empowering youth
TBHF’s interventions in Lebanon with UNDP enabled 90 youth-led businesses gain access to a local helpdesk and online platform for general guidance and training. It provided specialised technical support with coaching and mentoring for 15 youths, while also incubating viable, innovative, and sustainable development initiatives of up to 20 youth.
In Palestine, in collaboration with UNDP, TBHF promoted sustainable livelihoods through youth entrepreneurship programmes for 15 scalable youth ventures in high growth sectors while 50 MSMEs were provided access to helpdesk services.
UNHCR reappoints Sheikha Jawaher as Eminent Advocate
UNHCR honoured Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi’s humanitarian leadership in an official ceremony held in August 2021 and reappointed her as an Eminent Advocate. The UN body lauded Sheikha Jawaher’s accomplishments in advancing the standards of global humanitarian action, advocating for the rights of the displaced, and ensuring the successful implementation of both vital emergency relief and long-term sustainable projects.
Let’s Lessen the Gap
In April, TBHF made an impassioned call to citizens around the world to generously support its 2021 Zakat and general donations drive during Ramadan under the ‘Let’s Lessen the Gap’ campaign, which is part of a comprehensive, long-term programme that TBHF had launched in partnership with four leading UN agencies, namely, UNHCR, UNDP, WHO and UNICEF, to address humanitarian development challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic amongst vulnerable populations in the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region.
TBHF, in collaboration with UNHCR, organised the fifth edition of the annual Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA), which embodies the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, to recognise key humanitarian contributions in refugee advocacy, support and community building.
TBHF honoured Nairobi-based humanitarian agency, RefuSHE, which addresses the significant, unmet need for child and girl-focused refugee services in Kenya, with the Dh500,000 SIARA 2021 award.
An additional Dh1.1 million grant was awarded to three non-profit organisations in collaboration with NAMA Women Advancement to salute and honour the outstanding efforts of International Network for Aid Relief and Assistance (INARA), which works for forcibly displaced children and youth in Lebanon and Turkey, the Lotus Flower, which economically empowers vulnerable women and girls through innovative projects, and RefuSHE
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Sharjah Government Communication Awards
In the eighth edition of the Sharjah Government Communication Awards, TBHF was honoured as the winner in the Best Crisis Response category for its ‘Salam Beirut’ initiative, announced shortly after the tragic explosion in the Lebanese capital, which sought to deploy effective emergency relief measures and offer support for those impacted by the tragedy in collaboration with a network of regional and international partners.
Agility in crisis management
Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “In 2021, TBHF continued its humanitarian journey under the vision of Dr Al Qasssimi to help alleviate the hardships and sufferings of vulnerable and displaced populations around the world. The Foundation enriched its projects and programmes and its partner networks locally and around the world, with a focus on long-term sustainable projects in vital sectors including health care, education, vocational empowerment.”