• Humanitarian agencies across Asia, Middle East and Africa eligible for the AED 500,000 award
• 110 nominations from Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, the United States, Cameroon and Pakistan
Mariam Al Hammadi: The Big Heart Foundation is committed to raising the standard of humanitarian relief work
For immediate release
Sharjah, February 21, 2020
The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), the Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, has received 242 nominations from 52 countries for the fourth edition of the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA).
Of the total number of nominations received 49 percent were from Africa, 44 percent from Asia, 5 percent from Europe and 2 percent from other countries worldwide.
TBHF organizes the award annually in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), under the patronage of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, HH Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, to recognize the unparalleled efforts of local humanitarian outfits across Asia, Middle East and Africa, who have gone beyond the provision of emergency relief to have a positive and sustainable impact on the lives of numerous families and children by improving their access to food, health, psychological support and quality education.
Jordan tops the nominations list with 24 entries, followed by 19 from the Republic of Kenya and 18 from Uganda. Then comes Nigeria with 17 nominations; while the USA and Cameroon have sent in 11 applications each, and Pakistan is represented by 10 nominations. TBHF has received between four to eight nominations from Britain, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Afghanistan, Turkey and South Africa.
SIARA’s award money 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.
SIARA’s expanded scope turns the spotlight on Africa’s humanitarian excellence
TBFH had earlier announced that the award which previously covered only organizations operating in the Asia, Middle East and North Africa regions, had expanded its reach to include entities across the entire African continent. The move was intended to bring stronger global attention towards the serious humanitarian situation in Africa, as the continent supports more than 26 percent of the world’s 70.8 million refugees, with its limited infrastructure and resources.
Refugee numbers highest in 70 years since UNHCR’s inception
Recent UNHCR statistics show that the number of people fleeing wars, persecution and conflict exceeded 70.8 million in 2018. The agency noted that this was the highest number recorded in 70 years since UNHCR’s inception. In one year between 2017 – 18, the number of refugees and displaced persons worldwide bumped up by 2.2 million.
According to reports of international organizations involved in aid and rehabilitation efforts, majority of refugees live in countries with limited resources and infrastructure gaps, which negatively impacted not only lives of refugees but also host communities.
“The Big Heart Foundation is committed to raising the standard of humanitarian relief work,” said Mariam Al Hammadi, reiterating that SIARA has been founded to offer both monetary as well as moral support to committed, innovation-driven humanitarian outfits, to enhance their capabilities to address the pressing challenges that arise from conflicts and crisis across the world.
“The large number of nominations we have received this year testify importance the global humanitarian community attaches to this international award, which was born from Sharjah’s passion to advocate for the rights of refugees and their host communities as well as recognize the efforts of those who help and support them. The award aims to be a ray of hope for every refugee and displaced person in the world; SIARA is our message to them that reads ‘we are here standing by you and working hard for your future’,” she further noted.
Al Hammadi said that expanding the scope of the award to include the African continent and receiving nominations for the first time directly on TBHF website, has resulted in an increase in the number of nominations from organizations.