Sharjah charity pledges over $1 million to refugees in Pakistan
Five humanitarian projects to be executed in partnership with international entities
A Sharjah-based charity organisation has announced five humanitarian projects worth $1 million in Pakistan, in a bid to create more opportunities in education and employment for refugees.
The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), the global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, said the projects were announced under the directives of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of TBHF and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at the UNHCR.
The projects will support Pakistan’s educational infrastructure, enabling access to a larger number of children and youth, and improve vocational training. It will also focus on improving integration and youth employability, women’s skills development and community empowerment of refugees and others in need.
SOS school in Rawalakot
The TBHF has allocated $580,000 for the construction of an SOS Girls and Boys High School in Rawalakot, in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan. The project seeks to bring high-quality education to children who are under the care of SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan, as well as underprivileged children in the wider community. Launched in September, the school is expected to be fully established by July 2022.
In August, the TBHF launched a project to establish specialised computer training and English language labs in Sargodha, Sialkot and Muzaffarabad. Targeting 450 children and youth, the project worth $80,584 aims to support the youth in the care of SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan by equipping them with the necessary skills to secure jobs and fully integrate them into their communities.
In June, the TBHF mobilised funding of $170,162 for the construction of a primary school in Lakhi Ghulam Shah, Shikarpur, in Sindh province, in partnership with The Citizens Foundation (TCF).
The TCF-Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi Campus project, named in memory of the Sharjah Ruler’s son, aims to provide formal education to 180 marginalised children per year, with a particular focus on girls’ education. When complete, the school will employ nine female faculty members and five support staff, of which two will be women.
The TBHF said that the indirect beneficiaries from this project would be around 1,260 per year. In addition, the foundation has pledged monetary support to cover the running costs of the TCF-Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi School for a period of five years on completion of the project.
Upgradation of women’s skills development centres
o support 1,500 Afghani refugee women as well as marginalised local women in Pakistan acquire advanced vocational and technical skills to improve their employability, the TBHF, in cooperation with the UNHCR, launched a project targeting the upgradation of equipment at the Women Welfare Development Centre in Islamabad and three similar community development centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The $200,045 project, scheduled for completion in December 2021, will provide equipment for industrial tailoring, advanced beauty-therapy and information technology. The project seeks to build trainees’ self-reliance by improving their access to suitable livelihood development opportunities.
To promote the active engagement and participation of refugees in communities, the foundation has pledged $61,131 for a new community centre project in Haripur in cooperation with the UNHCR.
Scheduled to be completed at the end of 2021, ‘The Big Heart Foundation’ Community Centre will place special emphasis on the training of more than 1,500 Afghan refugees including youth, women, and adolescent girls. In addition to empowering the refugee community with vocational skills including tailoring and embroidery, as well as mobile phone and computer repairing, the centre will also raise awareness on the risks associated with child marriage and child labour.
An additional 1,000 Afghan refugees will also receive direct or indirect benefits from the training sessions and outreach activities organised by the centre.
Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of the TBHF, emphasised that the projects are aimed at supporting the efforts of civil organisations in Pakistan to enhance the lives of refugees and the marginalised groups. “Ensuring better educational support and providing opportunities for learning and life skills development will economically empower beneficiaries to contribute to the developmental efforts of the host nation and support in the rebuilding efforts in their home countries upon their return,” she added.
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