The Big Heart Foundation, a ray of hope

The Big Heart Foundation, a ray of hope

The charity was set up in 2015 to help vulnerable children and families worldwide

Sharjah: Three years on and The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) continues to play an outstanding role in transforming the lives of thousands of refugees and vulnerable children across the region.

At the heart of the Sharjah-based humanitarian foundation is Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Shaikha Jawaher, the chairperson of TBHF and a UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, has been at the forefront of a host of philanthropic initiatives and campaigns through the foundation, projects that aim to bring relief and positive change in the lives of innocent people trapped amid unceasing violence and devastation.

Recent years have seen the world witness a wave of wars and armed conflicts, with outbreaks of hostility causing death and destruction as they sweep across countries. This situation has impacted millions of lives and forced hundreds of thousands of people, including entire communities, to flee their homes and become refugees.

At a time when humanitarian crises in the Arab world have reached unprecedented levels, through Shaikha Jawaher’s efforts, much-needed relief is being delivered to internally displaced peoples, in particular the younger generation, who are afflicted by violence, hunger and poverty.

With a mission to work wherever support is most needed, TBHF has succeeded in bringing about real change in many countries, including Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq and Syria.

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Launching ‘Love You Lebanon,’ a fundraising initiative in the wake of the July 2006 war in Lebanon succeeded in raising more than Dh23 million, which supported Lebanese charities and orphanages, as well as St. Jude Children’s Cancer Centre.

Another humanitarian initiative, ‘Salam Ya Seghar,’ was launched to ease the suffering of people in Palestine and focused special attention children in the Gaza Strip. The programme, which has made significant contributions to support and further children’s education amid the tight blockade and problematic conditions in Gaza, has now been expanded to include children worldwide.

Shaikha Jawaher’s efforts don’t stop here. Her efforts have taken on a new and significant dimension with the UAE’s hosting of ‘Investing in the Future,’ an international conference held in Sharjah. The annual event was conceived to shed light on the most pressing humanitarian issues, to find practical solutions to them and to ensure the sustainable development of all nations.

In recognition of her humanitarian contributions to refugees across the region, Shaikha Jawaher was appointed Eminent Advocate for refugee children of the UNHCR for the third time this year after being appointed in 2013 and again in 2015.

Shaikha Jawaher views the growing refugee crisis as one of the greatest obstacle to collective human progress and consider it a moral responsibility of those who enjoy safe environments and greater privileges in life to give back to the global community. She is a strong advocate of the strengthening of international efforts directed towards ending the sufferings of millions of internally displaced peoples, especially women, children and the elderly, irrespective of their religion, nationality or ethnicity.

To this end, the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA Award), organised by TBHF in collaboration with UNHCR, was launched in January this year. It was established to pay tribute to the outstanding contributions by individuals and organisations aimed at improving the lives of millions of individuals and families who have been displaced because of war, civil conflict or natural disaster.