Under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), TBHF, the global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, is implementing five humanitarian projects in Pakistan, in a bid to support their humanitarian efforts to create more opportunities in education and employment for the refugees and marginalized residing in the country.
TBHF’s funding, which amounts to exceeding USD 1 Million will be utilized to support the nation’s educational infrastructure enabling access to a larger number of children and youth, and improve vocational training in Pakistan, and will also focus on improving integration and youth employability, women’s skills development and community empowerment of refugees and others in need, and follows the directives of Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi post Her Highness’s visit to Pakistan this February to meet with several humanitarian organizations.
USD 580,000 SOS Girls and Boys High School in Rawalakot
Reinforcing its emphasis on the pivotal role of education as a primary enabler of secure futures for vulnerable children, TBHF has allocated USD 580,000 for the construction of an SOS Girls and Boys High School in Rawalakot, in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan. The project seeks to bring high-quality education to children who are under the direct care of SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan, as well as underprivileged children in the wider community. Launched in September, the school is expected to be fully established by July 2022.
A special plaque, to acknowledge the meaningful contribution and support of The Big Heart Foundation for the welfare of children, will be affixed on the school grounds.
Establishment of computer labs and English language labs across SOS Youth Homes in Pakistan
In August, TBHF, in cooperation with SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan, launched a project to establish specialized computer training and English language labs in Sargodha, Sialkot and Muzaffarabad. Targeting 450 children and youth, the USD 80,584 project aims to support the youth in the care of SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan by equipping them with the necessary skills to secure jobs and fully integrate them into their communities as they reach adulthood.
USD 170,162 TCF-Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi Campus in Lakhi Ghulam Shah, Shikarpur, Sindh
In June, TBHF mobilized funding of USD 170,162 for the construction of a primary school project in Lakhi Ghulam Shah, Shikarpur, in Pakistan’s Sindh province, in partnership with The Citizens Foundation (TCF).
The TCF-Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi Campus project, named in memory of the Sharjah Ruler’s son, aims to provide high-quality formal education to 180 marginalized children per year, with a particular focus on girls’ education. When complete, the school will employ 9 female faculty members and five support staff, of which two will be women.
TBHF estimates that the indirect beneficiaries from this project would number around 1,260 per year, which aligns with the vision of the Pakistani educational laws, which stipulate the provision of free and compulsory education for children in the 5 – 16 age group, and the allocation of 10 per cent of seats in schools and private educational institutes for poor children.
In addition, TBHF has pledged monetary support to cover the running costs of the TCF-Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi School for a period of five years on completion of the project.
Upgradation of women’s skills development centres in Pakistan
To support 1,500 Afghani refugee women as well as marginalized local women in Pakistan acquire advanced vocational and technical skills to improve their employability, TBHF, in cooperation with UNHCR, launched a project targeting the upgradation of equipment at the Women Welfare Development Centre in Islamabad and three similar community development centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The USD 200,045 project, scheduled for completion in December 2021, will provide equipment for industrial tailoring, advanced beauty-therapy, and information technology, helping these women acquire advanced level vocational and technical skills in the crafts of dressmaking, tailoring, and jewellery design, in addition to receiving training in beautician and computer courses. Ultimately, the project seeks to build trainees’ self-reliance by improving their access to suitable livelihood development opportunities.
“The Big Heart Foundation Community Centre” to directly benefit more than 1,500 Afghan refugees
To promote the active engagement and participation of refugees in communities, TBHF has pledged USD 61,131 for a new community centre project in Haripur in cooperation with UNHCR.
Scheduled to be completed at the end of 2021, ‘The Big Heart Foundation’ centre will place special emphasis on the training of more than 1,500 Afghan refugees including youth, women, and adolescent girls in literacy courses, tailoring, business skills, as well as entrepreneurial and financial management skills to improve their livelihoods and make them economically independent.
In addition to empowering the refugee community with vocational skills including tailoring and embroidery, as well as mobile phone and computer repair, ‘The Big Heart Foundation’ centre will also raise community awareness on the risks associated with child marriage and child labour.
Mariam Al Hammadi: TBHF recognizes the importance of skilled human resources
Speaking on the side-lines of the implementation of the five projects, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, emphasized that the targeted educational and vocational projects carried out by TBHF are aimed at supporting the efforts of civil organizations in Pakistan to enhance the lives of refugees and the marginalized groups across the country. Ensuring better educational support and providing opportunities for learning and life skills development will economically empower beneficiaries to contribute to the developmental efforts of the host nation and support in the rebuilding efforts in their home countries upon their return, she added.
Mariam Al Hammadi said: “TBHF recognizes the importance of skilled human resources to build a strong, sustainable economy, and is committed to fulfilling its humanitarian responsibilities towards refugees and those in need around the world. We view our role as an integral part of the global community’s efforts to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals through our focus on sustainable projects in education and community empowerment sectors.”