Jawaher Al Qasimi: These efforts are a much-needed reminder that the world is still fundamentally a good place with good people.
• In recognition of humanitarian efforts to save lives and restore dignity
• Foundation cleared mines, provided water, food and education
The Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) in Yemen has won the first Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support.
The award’s organising committee declared the winners the Best Humanitarian Foundation in MENA Region in recognition of its efforts in supporting refugees in their hour of need and providing them with an environment that alleviates their suffering in the most devastating times in the harshest conditions.
The award is under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and His Highness’s Wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.
The award is organised by TBHF, a Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, in collaboration with the UNHCR. It aims to recognise and pay tribute to those who have made distinguished humanitarian efforts to anyone seeking refugee and displaced families in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.
The SDF will receive US$ 100,000 to help continue its humanitarian efforts. The foundation will be honoured at a special ceremony to be held in Sharjah on May 7, 2017. TBHF will promote SDF’s efforts to support and advocate refugees among local and international media and organisations relevant to refugees and humanitarian action.
Addressing the importance of the award as well as the significance of charitable and humanitarian efforts, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Big Heart Foundation and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, said: “It is essential that we recognise and reward the individuals and organisations who dedicate so much of their time and effort to such noble causes. In honouring their work we hope to spread the messages of generosity, compassion, humanity and care.
“These efforts to help and support refugees are a much-needed reminder that the world is fundamentally a good place with good people. There is room for love in our hearts despite the many conflicts worldwide, and the ‘Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support’ is a sign of respect and appreciation to all those who have extended such a vital helping hand to refugees across the world.
“The Sustainable Development Foundation’s efforts in Yemen mark an honourable page in the history of its humanitarian achievements and underline that Yemeni people have love and hope in providing the support to those who need it most. The foundation’s initiatives have become worthy examples for many organisations and entities in the region to follow and they provide a unique motivation for young people to come together and help the vulnerable, sick and homeless.”
Justice and Transparency:
The SDF received the award in recognition of its remarkable commitment and dedication to its work and the many initiatives that had such a positive impact on the lives of those in need. SDF’s keenness to invest funds efficiently, fairly and transparently, as well as providing so many disadvantaged people with humanitarian aid, were instrumental in selecting the organisation as the award’s first recipients.
The SDF was founded in 2003 by a group of Yemeni volunteers, who work together to achieve stable development and respond to the needs of people affected by war by providing fast and effective humanitarian aid. The SDF’s objectives are to build, enhance and support community resilience, as well as empower them economically and promote opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. SDE also aims to enhance access to education for everyone, contribute to peace building and justice, and create a safe and healthy environment for the vulnerable people in Yemen.
In the past two years, the SDF implemented an array of outstanding initiatives and projects, which have improved the lives of tens of thousands of people, especially women and children, in nine Yemeni districts. The initiatives focused mainly on providing access to clean water, food, child protection, education and energy.
Mine Clearance and Saving Lives:
The SDF was able to implement a spectrum of communal and humanitarian initiatives, even though Yemen is facing many of the cruellest challenges and dangers. The projects include a demining, monitoring and assessment campaigns, which were implemented in the worst affected districts. Thanks to this project, greater protection was provided to civilians, especially in rural regions.
Education and Training:
As part of its strategy to protect refugee children, the SDF launched a series of training workshops and recreational activities, to boost child protection and create a safe environment, as well as to help reintegrate children into society, including 10,764 children in the Sanaa district, home of the capital city. SDF also provided 20,226 young refugees in Sanaa with education opportunities and scholarships, and emotional and social support to encourage school attendance.
Essence of Life:
Water is the essence of life, and life is impossible without clean water access. The sharp decline in clean water sources, maintenance and services led SDF to implement a project, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to provide clean water storage tanks and rehabilitate four wells by solar-energy pumps, serving more than 4,000 people in the Bani Qais and Hajjah districts.
The SDF has also provided food for poor households, including food packages to 1,300 households in Sanaa and the Haraz region, 37,900 households in the Marib district, and 2,000 Ramadan breakfast meals to 200 additional households in Sanaa.
Supporting young refugees, the SDF implemented the ‘Emergency Crisis Response’ (cash-for-work) project, which provided 250 refugees in Hajjah with three-months of employment to help them meet their basic needs. It is introducing a similar scheme ‘Enhancing the Resilience of Rural Areas in Yemen’, to provide two-year temporary employment to 1,700 young men and women in Hajjah and Al Hudaydah.
As well as those life-changing actions, SDF conducted a number of important studies and surveys that form invaluable statistical sources for humanitarian and refugee organisations. The studies include a survey on school drop-out, and another survey featuring 1,200 very-low income families, in Hajjah and Al Hudaydah, resulted in providing them with small solar systems.
The SDF’s vision is to become one of the leading development and humanitarian foundations in Yemen and across the wider region. To achieve that, the foundation provides premium sustainable development services for all segments of society in line with the principles of human rights, and provides the fundamentals of decent living. It also contributes to peace building and justice for communities, defying all present and forthcoming challenges.