423 organisations from 41 countries vie for Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support

The prestigious international honour which celebrates outstanding refugee  interventions, witnesses a 135% increase in submissions compared to previous year

The seventh annual edition of the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA) 2023, closed entries a few months ago, and after completing the applications count, has announced that 423 entries were submitted from 41 countries across 4 continents.

With a 135 percent increase in the number of entries compared to the previous edition, which received 177 applications, the submissions came in from entities  seeking global recognition for their refugees efforts in under-resourced communities worldwide, and thereby testify to the growing importance of SIARA in turning the international spotlight on unsung humanitarian heroes.

SIARA was established by the Sharjah-based global humanitarian organisation, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2017, and since, has been held annually, to celebrate outstanding humanitarian interventions by humanitarian outfits across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa that have innovatively  and sustainably impacted the lives of refugees, the forcibly displaced, and marginalised communities by improving their access to food, healthcare, education, psychological support, among others 

Held under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, Chairperson of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, SIARA’s cash prize of AED 500,000 (US$136,000) is a special contribution by TBHF and does not represent any share of the donations made to the foundation.

Collective humanitarian impact of SIARA 2023 entrants: 60 million refugees and IDPs

Nigeria topped the list of country-specific nominations with 40 entries, followed by Uganda with 29, Lebanon with 28 entries and Iraq and Pakistan with 15 and 17 submissions, respectively. Other countries from which nominations were received include Egypt, Morocco, Nepal, Palestine, Somalia, Cambodia, Zambia, USA, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Congo, Ghana, South Sudan, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Yemen, Bangladesh, Cameroon, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, UAE, Bahrain, Greece, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The organisations that have applied to this edition of the award have delivered emergency aid, life-saving assistance and long-term humanitarian development programmes to close to 60 million refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), women and children, in 5 continents.

Mariam Al Hammadi: SIARA winners have triggered a tide of humanitarian excellence 

Mariam Al Hammadi, TBHF Director, noted, “We are proud to receive the highest number of submissions in SIARA’s seven-year history. The increase in numbers not only testifies to the growing popularity of this award but also reflects on the growing strength and commitment of the international community of humanitarian outfits who are making an impact with their brave, selfless efforts every day.”

“In creating this award, our mission was to realise the vision of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation, UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, to turn the spotlight on individual stories of greatness and impact. These stories set the benchmark of professionalism, ingenuity, and excellence in this sector of work. We are pleased to say that we have achieved what we set out to do, with SIARA winners triggering a tide of humanitarian excellence and inspiring examples for their peers around the world,” she added.

Last year, the sixth edition of SIARA received 177 nominations from 39 countries, with Nigeria and Uganda topping the list. The award continues to be a strong reflection of the humanitarian spirit and culture of sustainable philanthropy that lies at the heart of the UAE community, with a focus on improving the lives and realities of marginalised populations around the world.