Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) – The Big Heart Foundation, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, contributed an additional USD $1,500,000 to UNHCR in support of educational activities for Syrian refugee children in Egypt and Lebanon.
In appreciation of this generous donation, The Acting Head of UNHCR- Abu Dhabi office, Nisreen Rubaian, said: “This generous donation from Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, UNHCR Eminent Advocate, is a clear evidence of Her Highness’s commitment in securing a better future for Syrian refugee children. We are very grateful to Her Highness for this kind donation, which will help provide a better learning environment for thousands of Syrian refugee children.”
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi said: “Education has always been a lifeline to rescue Syrian child refugees from their tragic ordeal, giving them hope of a brighter future in a safer homeland. From the beginning, our initiative launched several campaigns to help these children fulfill their journey of academic achievements, so that they can rebuild their nation.”
Her Highness added: “This donation today is not our first and will not be our last, God willing. The sad plight of these innocent children has shaken us all and touched our hearts. By lending a helping hand to such vulnerable people who have nothing except the generosity and willpower of their supporters, we have fully dedicated ourselves to this noble mission.”
The UNHCR’s field operations in Egypt will receive the largest portion of the contribution (USD $1 million), which will support expanding three schools and refurbishing five in Cairo, Alexandria, and Damietta governorates. Expansion operations will include the creation of 50 additional classrooms, while refurbishment will include the maintenance of a number of schools to become safer for both local and Syrian students. It is estimated that this funding will benefit around 15,000 Syrian students, in addition to 45,000Egyptian students.
In Lebanon, UNHCR will work to cover school fees and transportation costs for around 1,185 Syrian students to enroll in second (afternoon) shifts dedicated to accommodate Syrian refugee students in Lebanese schools.
Among the 3.3 million Syrian refugees registered with UNHCR in neighboring countries; Lebanon hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees (more than 1,147 million) 34% of whom are school-age children. Egypt hosts at least 137,000 Syrian refugees, 30% of whom are school-age children.
This initiative is part of the Big Heart Foundation, which was launched by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qassimi on June 20th, 2013, coinciding with World Refugee Day, aimed at supporting Syrian refugee children and alleviating their suffering. The campaign has successfully provided more than USD $14.5 million to UNHCR for the benefit of Syrian refugees, contributing to the provision of shelter, medical aid and cash assistance to hundreds of thousands ofSyrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq, in addition to displaced persons (IDPs)inside Syria.
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established in December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. In more than five decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives.
The Big Heart Foundation was launched in June 2013 under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, to support Syrian refugee children. The campaign has succeeded in raising US$14.5 million over the past year and contributed in meeting the needs of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees through the provision of emergency healthcare, clothing, blankets, shelter, and food. The campaign was turned from emergency relief to education, as part of the efforts that aim to bring Syrian refugee children back to school to complete their education after they fled their war-torn country.
For further information, please contact:
Mohammed Abu Asaker
Public Information and Communications Officer
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