• Cash assistance amounting to $40,557 will be offered to 143 vulnerable Iraqi refugee families living in Jordan’s urban areas
  • Community centre in Aleppo will support 12,000 internally displaced per year

The Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), has announced that proceeds from their latest fundraising campaign have been allocated to fund two community initiatives in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Jordan and Syria.

USD 40,557 (AED 148,970) will be taken up by a month-long cash assistance initiative to uplift 143 Iraqi refugee families seeking asylum in Jordan’s urban areas. The cash assistance will help families repay their loans, participate in and benefit the host economy, and especially benefit female-led households facing cultural, legal and economic discrimination.

The community centre project proposal is the outcome of yearlong discussions between TBHF and UNHCR – one of TBHF’s 2018–19 strategies, which aims to offer the internally displaced Syrian communities longer term rehabilitation and support while bolstering Aleppo’s rebuilding efforts.

Of the generous contributions made by the UAE’s citizens and residents to the TBHF campaign, $240,750 (AED 884,323) will be used to provide community-based protection activities through increasing UNHCR outreach by establishing this community centre in Aleppo.

The project aims to meet the multiplying needs of Syrian IDPs and conflict-affected communities with a particular focus on legal aid, which will be used for providing people with better access to housing and quicker and transparent land and property documentation. This legal support will also be aimed at the protection of children, and offer strengthened prevention/response mechanisms to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “Rebuilding social support networks are crucial to the long-term welfare of small and emerging refugee communities as well as internally displaced. The Zakat donations by the UAE will have a far-reaching impact on our and UNHCR’s efforts to integrate these vulnerable communities into society by offering financial and infrastructural assistance, without which they will not be able to overcome their desperate situation today.

“These TBHF initiatives go over and above offering basic aid as they are aimed at re-establishing independent community structures by offering support networks for a longer term, which act as key coping and survival mechanisms during times of acute hardship that the communities we are targeting through these initiatives face today. This campaign helped those in the UAE who are fortunate to live more comfortable and privileged lives an opportunity to think and take action for those who have the most uncertain future. Community service is one of the noblest acts by humanity, and Ramadan and Eid gave us the opportunity to come forward and make a positive impact on the world.”

Toby Harward, UNHCR’s Head of Office in the UAE, stressed the importance of this support: “We value our partnership we have with The Big Heart Foundation, and we warmly appreciate the solidarity and support that UAE citizens have shown for refugees during the holy month of Ramadan. This contribution enables to expand our network of protection and livelihood in Syria and Jordan.”

The Big Heart Foundation was founded in May 2015, following several initiatives and campaigns launched by HH Sheikha Jawaher. The Foundation’s vision is to protect the poor, vulnerable and needy, and provide decent, dignified lives. To achieve its goals, the foundation currently oversees four funds: Palestine Fund, The Refugee Fund, the Girl Child Fund and The Middle East and North Africa Fund.