Jawaher Al Qasimi Launches ‘The Girl Child Fund’

Initiative will advocate for rights of girls worldwide

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), has launched ‘The Girl Child Fund,’ an initiative to advocate for the rights of girls worldwide.

An initiative by TBHF – a Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide – The Girl Child Fund will address all core the issues and challenges faced by girls in the MENASA region, aiming to ensure that they have access to education, healthcare, food, security and social and psychological support. The initiative allows for corporate and community involvement via fund-raising campaigns that will support its efforts at all levels and on a global scale.

It will aim to protect the basic rights of the girl child and work to prevent underage marriage, child trafficking and child labour. The fund will work towards this by raising awareness of the rights of girls and advocating for the adoption and activation of policies that provide them with adequate protection.

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qassimi highlighted the impact on society when girls are abused and denied their human rights, citing how the issue of girls being forced into underage marriage, trafficked and barred from education causes long term societal issues by damaging the structure of families and negatively affecting the economy.

“Giving attention and care to girls does so much more than safeguard a particularly vulnerable segment of the community, it means creating a strong society for the future. Today’s girls are tomorrow’s mothers and mothers are the backbone of the family, with their important role shaping entire communities. Violence and injustice against girls leaves a terrible legacy for society for years to come,” said Her Highness.

“Girls across the world are being denied their right to education, which constitutes a huge problem and one that results in both short and long term effects for countries. Women are teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers and leaders. Jeopardising their right to acquire knowledge interrupts the cultural and humanitarian advancement of societies,” Her Highness emphasised.

TBHF’s initiative aims to make a tangible difference in the lives of girls and other victims of poor social conditions, not only by providing education opportunities and healthcare services, but by rallying international efforts to activate policies for their protection and for addressing gaps in meeting their needs.

According to UN Women’s statistics, women and girls constitute 70% of the total known cases of global trafficking victims. Figures released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) show that nearly 700 million girls worldwide are married under the age of 18 years. If this practice continues at the current rate, the figure will rise to nearly 950 million by 2030.

The Girl Child Fund will enter into regional and global partnerships to expand the scope of its operations in order to reach the largest possible number of girls. The initiative will operate in cooperation with relevant international bodies and organisations involved in advocacy for girls, including education, health and human rights, so as to implement innovative strategies and projects that can make a positive change in their lives.

The launch of The Girl Child Fund is in line with the UAE’s Year of Giving 2017 and aims to promote an approach of self-sacrifice and giving to help community segments that are in dire need of support and assistance.

TBHF was officially launched by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi in June 2015 to coincide with World Refugee Day. It followed the decision issued by Her Highness to transform what was then The Big Heart Campaign into a global humanitarian foundation. The move was aimed at redoubling efforts to help people in need worldwide, with the new foundation adding significantly to the UAE’s rich portfolio and long record of humanitarian initiatives.