Big Heart calls for big-hearted donations to help the vulnerable

Big Heart calls for big-hearted donations to help the vulnerable
Big Heart calls for big-hearted donations to help the vulnerable

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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Over 30 million children and young people across the Mena region do not have access to digital and broadcast remote learning.

The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a UAE-based global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, has made an impassioned call to citizens around the world to generously support its 2021 Zakat and general donations drive during Ramadan.

These fundraising activities under the “Let’s Lessen the Gap” campaign are part of a comprehensive long-term programme that TBHF has launched. In partnership with four leading UN agencies, namely, UNHCR, UNDP, WHO and Unicef, the foundation is addressing humanitarian development challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic amongst vulnerable populations in the MENA region.

Furthering TBHF’s ongoing response efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 worldwide, the programme will set the blueprint for TBHF’s COVID-response strategies in the long-term. Evidence and research-based findings from the programme will enable TBHF and partnering UN agencies to identify the most pressing needs of the region, and subsequently aid the designing of sustainable and long-term interventions. The programme will also encompass advocacy campaigns aimed at bridging the gaps in vital sectors of Protection, Livelihoods, Healthcare and Education, which have been heavily impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing the launch of “Let’s Lessen the Gap”, TBHF revealed the programme would address both the critical health and non-healthcare needs of marginalised populations to allow for a return to normalcy in the Mena region. As COVID-19 continues to shape the lives of individuals and societies around the world, TBHF is appealing to people worldwide to act on their humanitarian instincts and support in lessening, and eventually closing, the gap between vulnerable communities and their access to the tools and resources they need to become enablers for building a prosperous Mena region of tomorrow.

Fundraising activities of the programme have commenced and include TBHF’s Zakat 2021 campaign. TBHF invites individuals, small business, and corporates alike to get involved and join the ‘Lets Lessen the Gap’ movement.

To know more about how you can get involved and make your contribution, visit www.lessenthegap.org. Contributions can also be made via SMS by sending the word ‘sadaqa’ to the Etisalat numbers: 7857 to donate Dhs10; 7859 to donate Dhs50, 7788 to donate Dhs100; or 7708 to donate Dhs500. For Du: 9965 to donate Dhs10; 9967 to donate Dhs50, 9968 to donate Dhs100.

Zakat contributions can also be deposited directly into Zakat Fund account no: 0011-430430-020 at the Sharjah Islamic Bank (International Bank Account Number ‘IBAN’: AE040410000011430430020).

Humanitarian challenges in Mena: The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified many decades-long development and humanitarian challenges in the Mena region such as high youth unemployment, inequitable development pathways, resource scarcity, gender discrimination, restricted access to services, and the devastating effects of ongoing conflict in some countries.

According to reports by UNESCWA, unemployment surged in the region with rates reaching up to 26.6 per cent for youth compared to 13.6 per cent globally. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the learning crisis, disrupting education at an unparalleled rate across the region. A 2020 Unicef report states that approximately 40 per cent of students, accounting for 37 million children and young people across the region, were not reached by digital and broadcast remote learning.

The pandemic has also posed severe challenges in fragile and conflict-affected nations in Mena.

Additionally, refugees have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The “Let’s Lessen the Gap” campaign and post-COVID programme will see TBHF collaborating with multiple UN agencies working on the ground in Mena to implement long-term strategies and initiatives in the fields of Protection, Livelihoods, Healthcare, and Education to assist those who are least likely to have access to these essential services.

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