No one can imagine the severity of suffering and deprivation endured by children, women, and families displaced by war and armed conflict; How difficult it is for a father who is unable to meet the basic needs of his children, or for a mother who finds herself incapable of reassuring her kids that tomorrow will be better.

Amidst this painful reality and uncertain future, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), driven by a high sense of humanitarian responsibility and the UAE’s rich legacy of helping people in need, was founded in 2015. In line with the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, the Foundation has made considerable efforts to safeguard the rights and improve the lives of children and families, with the hope of achieving its vision of a world where vulnerable communities are protected and empowered.

Through your support, we were able to reach over 500,000 individuals in need in 2018, expanding our work to 4 new countries and growing the total grant amounts to over 60 million AED. In January 2018, we partnered with the Malala Fund to open a school that accommodates 1,000 girls in the Shangla District, Pakistan. January 2018 also saw the announcement of The Big Heart School, a large-scale secondary school for students with hearing impairments that is a stone’s throw away from the separation fence along the Green Line in the West Bank, Palestine. Another highlight in 2018 was the opening of ‘The Hospital on the Hill’, a new MSF hospital funded by the Foundation in the heart of the vast Kutupalong-Balukhali camp, which provides refuge to some 700,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. In Egypt, TBHF announced a 160 million Egyptian pounds (around AED 33 million) grant in 2018 to develop the main building of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Cairo.

2018 also marked the second edition of the annual Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support, and the third edition of the Investing in the Future (IIFMENA) conference.

Unfortunately, despite all our combined efforts, many emergency situations around the world need our support now more than ever. In 2019, we hope to expand our redevelopment work in Syria, our relief efforts in South Sudan, and our emergency assistance in Yemen. We also hope to reach new places that desperately need support such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) where decades of war, violence, and poverty claimed over 6 million lives.

In this Year of Tolerance, we at The Big Heart Foundation hope to further consolidate our efforts to aid and assist refugees, displaced people and those in need without discrimination. We hope to count on your continued support to address the needs of vulnerable children and families around the world.

With my deepest gratitude,
Mariam Al Hammadi

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