Sheikha Jawaher reappointed as Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children

Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah Filed on August 26, 2021
Sheikha Jawaher with a refugee child. — Supplied photo

UNHCR decision recognises her contribution to raise public awareness about refugees, with a focus on children

In recognition of her contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Beirut blast and the Sudan floods in 2020, the UNHCR has reappointed Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi as the Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.

Sheikha Jawaher, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), first held the Eminent Advocate title in May 2013. In the role, she helped raise public awareness about refugees and the work of the UNHCR, with a focus on children.

In an officiating ceremony on Thursday, Sheikha Jawaher said: “In many regions around the globe, people amongst us are searching for a homeland after they were forced to abandon their homes and livelihoods due to conflict. They are labelled refugees. Some of them have never understood the concept of homeland or what it means to belong. To date, nearly 79 million have been displaced for various reasons. Every one of them carries a story of displacement and alienation, with no end in sight for their misery. To change these realities, we need to identify the reasons for such displacement and work collaboratively on a global level to address them.”

Filippo Grandi, an Italian diplomat and commissioner of the UNHCR, said Sheikha Jawaher’s generosity and personal moral support have touched the lives of more than one million refugees in over 20 countries, especially women and children. “Refugees around the world are facing enormous challenges. Of the 80 million forcibly displaced people, 85 per cent are hosted in developing countries that are themselves struggling to meet the needs of their citizens, especially as we collectively battle Covid-19. In 2020, Sheikha Jawaher made invaluable contributions in the wake of three crises: The Covid-19 pandemic, the Beirut blast and the floods in Sudan. I’m therefore most grateful that Her Highness has accepted the invitation to renew her Eminent Advocate title.”

Sheikha Jawaher’s humanitarian work has spanned continents. In Asia — under her directives — TBHF supported thousands of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia and Bangladesh, with both emergency aid and long-term humanitarian projects.

More recently, in the continent of Africa, Sheikha Jawaher issued a directive to rehabilitate a healthcare centre and construct a school for girls in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, while in Sudan, she mobilised efforts to provide shelter to those impacted by the floods in 2020.

The virtual ceremony, which was broadcasted on Sharjah TV and TBHF’s social media platforms, featured a commemorative video highlighting Sheikha Jawaher’s humanitarian journey since she was first named Eminent Advocate. Beneficiaries of TBHF’s programmes in Pakistan, Jordan, Kenya and Sudan all came together to assert that her programmes allowed them access to both basic amenities and special tools with which they are empowering the futures of their families.

Afkar Abdullah

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