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Jawaher transforms Big Heart Campaign to Foundation
By Lina Abdel Rahman May 07, 2015
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SHARJAH: Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children and wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, launched The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) on Tuesday on the 2nd anniversary of her appointment as UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.

This comes two years after Sheikha Jawaher launched The Big Heart Campaign which has helped hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugee children and families by providing emergency aid, healthcare, shelter, cash assistance, education and relief materials such as clothing, blankets, and food.

She said, “The decision to transform The Big Heart Campaign into a Foundation stems from our belief in the necessity of doubling efforts to help refugee children. We are expanding our support to ensure that we strengthen the family and provide refugee children with an environment that is secure. This is in line with the true values of Islam and is compatible with the humanitarian work that distinguishes the UAE and reflects its honourable and respected standing on the world stage.”

On May 7, 2013, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) appointed Sheikha Jawaher as UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, one of the most distinguished positions in the international humanitarian world. This was in recognition of her tireless efforts to raise public awareness about the problems faced by refugees, a cause she has been devoted to and which is close to her heart. Her commitment to alleviating the suffering of women and children affected by war, and her eagerness to launch life-saving and life-changing initiatives, mobilise humanitarian support and secure financial resources for refugees, led to this appointment.

She added, “With the deteriorating conditions suffered by refugees throughout the world as a result of war, unrest and disasters, and the growing risks that pose serious threats to their safety, the international community should join forces and unite their efforts towards stopping these tragedies that break our hearts. We cannot stand by as refugees risk their lives on unseaworthy vessels or travel vast distances by land and desert, looking for security and safety. This tragedy requires immediate action to provide them with assistance, keeping in mind the true teachings of Islam.”

She stressed that children always suffer the most as a result of war and are deprived of basic human rights such as shelter, food, healthcare, education and psychological support. She added, “The tragedy of war and refugees affects us all, it is a global issue that cannot be resolved without concerted international effort.”

Sheikha Jawaher added that transforming the Big Heart Campaign to The Big Heart Foundation will help to augment cooperation with local and regional government bodies and international humanitarian organisations and UN agencies. It will also enable the Foundation to participate in and host specialised conferences, which will build greater capacity to influence and have access to decision makers worldwide. In addition, it will also increase financial support enabling it to develop programmes and initiatives to support refugees in Mena and the world, and provide a better life for them.

Since its inception The Big Heart Campaign has provided life-saving medical services to over 365,000 Syrian refugees and gave more than 400,000 others vital food and financial aid. During the colder winter months in Syria and its neighbouring countries of Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon the campaign provided basic essentials to children and their families such as warm shelters, blankets and clothing. The Big Heart Campaign later focused on education as part of the drive to bring Syrian refugee children back to school after their education was disrupted by the current crisis.

Sharjah principles

1. All refugee children and adolescents to enjoy international protection.

2. All refugee children and adolescents to have their best interests taken as a primary consideration in all matters affecting their well-being and their future.

3. All refugee children to be registered and documented at birth in countries of asylum.

4. All refugee children and adolescents to enjoy their right to family unity and be protected from family separation.

5. All refugee children and adolescents to enjoy their right to quality education in a safe environment supportive of their developmental needs.

6. All refugee children and adolescents to be protected against violence, abuse, and exploitation, including child labour, and have access to national systems and services delivered in a protective way, including health and psychosocial support.
 

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