Jawaher Al Qasimi’s vision enabled TBHF to develop its services and broaden its outreach.
Jawaher Al Qasimi’s support helps facilitate the foundation’s mission to reach people in need worldwide.
AED 17 million in donations and foreign aid were made in 2015.
More than AED100 million raised to support TBHF’s humanitarian initiatives
The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) has worked hard to improve the lives of refugees and help the underprivileged around the world. TBHF has received acknowledgment internationally for its achievements which are due to the support and close follow up of Her Highness Sheikh Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.
Since its inception three years ago, TBHF has strengthened its presence and activities for Syrian refugees fleeing the unrest in their country as a result of the five-year war. The daily flow of Syrian people, including men, women and children, who are in search of a safer life, is the largest exodus in the world since the Second World War.
Transformation from a campaign into foundation
Two-thirds of the Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR are children and women who sought shelter in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt and are coping amidst deteriorating humanitarian and living conditions. This does not include the large number of children who have been displaced within Syria, according to the UNHCR.
In the wake of ever worsening conditions, the decision was made to transform the Big Heart Campaign into a global charitable foundation in the second quarter of 2015. The move was in line with the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher to do more to help refugees and people in need in the region and all around the world, and expand the foundation’s scope, with a special focus on children.
The transformation has helped to augment cooperation with local and regional government bodies and international humanitarian organizations and UN agencies and facilitated its access to more areas. In addition, the decision has helped increase financial support to develop programs and initiatives to support refugees and people in need in the region and the world and provide a better life for them. TBHF has provided AED17 million to help support refugees and underprivileged people worldwide.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, stressed that it is the responsibility of the free world and the international community to join forces and unite their efforts to stop the tragic circumstances refugees are living in. Her Highness has stressed that children always suffer the most as a result of war as they are deprived of basic human rights such as shelter, food, healthcare, education and psychological support. Her Highness says that as a result of displacement children lose their childhoods and have no memories of the warmth of living with their families. Her Highness believes the tragedy of war and refugees affects us all and is a global issue that cannot be resolved without a concerted international effort and collaboration.
Supporting humanitarian initiative
Thanks to the vision and directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, The Big Heart Foundation has raised AED100 million to support humanitarian initiatives with an aim to improve the lives of refugees in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Somalia among many others.
2015 – Year of Achievements
According to Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of “Salam Ya Segar”, an initiative under TBHF, a series of initiatives were carried out in 2015 to provide assistance to 3000 vulnerable families in the Gaza Strip in Palestine at a cost of AED3.74 million. The programme helped alleviate the suffering of people in Gaza by providing them with essentials such as food, clothes and school supplies.
The Big Heart Foundation, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) provided education for 15,000 Syrian refugee children in Egypt at cost of AED3.62 million. It also offered education for 700 Syrian refugees in Lebanon at a cost of AED1.89 million in 2015.
Al Hammadi said TBHF provided AED1 million for 1889 refugee families in Jordan during Eid Al Fitr, and provided AED1 million for 714 illegal Bengali and Rohingya immigrant families in Indonesia, in cooperation with the UNHCR. It also implemented several initiatives in Turkey where it provided support of AED1.83 million for 2000 Syrian women who were at risk from physical or sexual violence.
Mariam Al Hammadi added that TBHF also collaborated with the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF) in Jordan, to provide AED5000 in essential medical care for Palestinian cancer patients, in addition to supporting seven Syrian Refugee cancer patients at a cost of AED928,000.
A total of 350 people benefited from the AED1.83 million project in Gaza carried out with Médecins Sans Frontières which provided plastic and constructive surgeries for the victims of war in Gaza. It also provided postoperative care, and rehabilitation for patients suffering from psychiatric trauma.
In November and December 2015, TBHF carried out a number of projects in Palestine, including a scheme to enhance the education and psychological well-being of students in the Gaza Strip. 1,568 children and 1,253 mothers, are expected to benefit directly from the AED1.84 million-project, which will conclude in August 2016.
The Foundation also implemented the “Restoring Sight” project, to help improve the lives of patients with visual problems in different areas of Palestine and provide them with clinical and surgical services. A total of AED1.84million has been invested and is expected to help 5333 patients. The Foundation also provided healthcare to Syrian refugees in Zaatari Camp in Jordan where it set up a healthcare clinic fully equipped with medical staff and supplies. The clinic handled 57,312 cases costing AED5 million.
Since its inception on June 20, 2013, The Big Heart Foundation has moved from one phase to another. In the first phase, TBHF focused on improving the living conditions of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, providing for their essential and emergency needs, such as medical assistance, food supplies and shelter.
Due to directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, The Big Heart Foundation succeeded in raising approximately $13 million in donations by individuals and government organisations for its first phase.
HH Sheikha Jawaher has allocated all funds for the UNHCR and were spent on more than 400,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, while over 9,000 displaced people in Syria have benefited from TBHF’s human assistance and services.
Second phase for refugee relief
In 2014, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher launched “Warm Their Hearts” campaign as part of its second phase with an aim to help Syrian refugees survive harsh winter conditions in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. The campaign, which was launched after HH Sheikha Jawaher’s visit to Zaatari Camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan, raised funds for securing warm shelters, blankets and clothes.
“Warm Their Heart” campaign provided shelter for over 10,000 refugees to help them survive freezing temperatures during the cold winter. It also provided urgent medical assistance to 260,000 Syrian refugees, including transplant surgeries ofProstheticlimbs, treating chronic diseases, and reconstructive surgeries to remove post-surgical scars.
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance and Head of the UAE Committee for the Coordination of Foreign Humanitarian Aid, with support by The Big Heart Foundation, opened the primary healthcare centre in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. The clinic was established as part of a $5 million grant from TBHF to help support UNHCR’s efforts in the health sector in Jordan.
Journey of Hope
Following the success of its first and second phases to mobilise support and provide basic needs to Syrian refugee children, the campaign turned from emergency relief to education, to bring Syrian refugee children back to school to complete their education after they fled their war-torn country.
Under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher, TBHF launched its third campaign titled the “Journey of Hope” on February 10, 2015, to help 1.2 million Syrian children get back to school.
The back to school campaign focused on helping refugee children pursue education through sustainable ways of collecting money to buy books and learning materials, recruit more teachers and construct new schools. According to UNHCR and UNESIF reports, more than 4,000 schools have been destroyed or turned into shelters for domestic refugees.
The Big Heart Foundation’s campaigns received an impressive response by government organisations and bodies as well as community members. During the launch ceremony of the “Journey of Hope” campaign, Emirati singer Hussein Al Jassmi, UN Goodwill Ambassador, wrote on his twitter account, “Our Hearts beat and pray for Syrian refugee children. Hope is always there, and supporting The Big Heart Foundation is everyone’s duty. Thank you Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi.” While Lebanese singer Majida Al Roumi donated the proceeds of her charity concert at Al Majaz Amphitheatre to support the Big Heart Foundation’s humanitarian campaigns and initiatives.
Response to support one million Syrian children
Following an appeal by the UNHCR to support one million Syrian children who were forced to leave their country and live as refugees in various countries, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi instructed TBHF to donate $200,000 for provision of basic needs of those children and their families and help ease their plight. The donation came at a time when there is a deficit in the Syrian Regional Response Plan, which covered only 38% of the required amount.
Investing in the Future conference
A significant milestone for the Big Heart Foundation was hosting the first UN conference on the issue of refugee children in the Middle East and North Africa called “Investing in the Future | Protecting Refugee Children | MENA (IIFMENA)’’. The conference was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, on October 15th& 16th. The UN conference crowned the enormous efforts of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher to provide protection and safety to refugee children everywhere as well as her continued endeavors to provide them with a decent life.
Previous Projects and Initiatives
During 2013 and 2014, The Big Heart Foundation implemented a large number of projects and initiatives, most notably provision of AED7.3 million in healthcare services to over 106,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq.
It also carried out several projects in Jordan to improve the health conditions of refugees at a cost of AED18.4 million, benefiting 150,000 refugees. TBHF provided basic items and vitally needed food at a cost of AED753,000 to 338,700 refugee children, infants and elderly. In addition, TBHF handed over aid valued at AED6.6 million during Eid Al Fitr which benefited 60,000 refugees. Among projects implemented by the Foundation is the provision of healthcare services to refugees in Lebanon. The AED11 million-healthcare project benefited 10,000 refugees.
The Foundation also implemented an AED3.7-million project to improve healthcare services in Syria for a total of 9150 refugees. All these projects and initiatives have contributed to raising hope in the lives of refugees and their children and enabled them to survive and overcome psychological trauma caused by war and turmoil.