Beneficiaries of Big Heart Foundation grow worldwide

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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - As early as January 2019, an unprecedented 70.8 million people had been forcibly displaced worldwide. Against the backdrop of these overwhelming numbers, the Sharjah-based global humanitarian organization, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), continued to intensify its philanthropic efforts in 2019 in the vital sectors of emergency relief, healthcare, education and livelihood with the strategic inclusion of long-term community development projects on their global humanitarian agenda.

TBHF wrapped up 2019 registering 146,771  beneficiaries in 11 nations, namely, India, Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique. The Foundation mobilized funds worth Dhs32,312,553 to support 16 humanitarian projects implemented by partnering organizations representing both local entities in beneficiary nations as well as international agencies.  

“The shocking statistics revealed by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) was further a confirmation to us that we needed to redouble efforts to identify specific challenges faced not only by the communities affected, but by local and international agencies bringing aid to them, in order to customize  our humanitarian response to ensure best possible outcomes,” said Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF.

Doing so, she added, necessitated a paradigm shift in their humanitarian outlook since 2018. “Inspired by the vision and determination of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at UNHCR, to lead humanitarian interventions in a way that have sustainable impact, TBHF continued to initiate and partner on projects focused on long-term results; a new area of focus for us in the past couple of years.”    

“The transition from relief to development is critical, because only long-term rehabilitation strategies, which are inclusive of education, psychological support, skills training, sustainable livelihood opportunities, can bring about real positive change in terms of bringing victims of crises back into the folds of society as essential contributors to community building and overall development,” Al Hammadi further added.

In 2019, TBHF led 16 important projects in 11 nations in Asia, Middle East and Africa. Healthcare and education sectors were the Foundation’s key focus last year, followed by livelihood generation projects and emergency relief operations.

TBHF allocated a significant share of its 2019 funding to support and rehabilitate the healthcare sector in beneficiary nations. In July 2019, Dhs200,000 from TBHF’s Zakat collections was pledged to the Child and Mother Welfare Society in Lebanon to renovate its post-partum, post-surgery and medicine hospital for 500 beneficiaries.

In March, TBHF pledged Dhs734,560 from its Ameera Fund to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the implementation of the 2017 WHA cancer resolution across 20 nations in the MENA region, which seeks to strengthen the data collection process on cancer stages to be able to monitor cancer control efforts more effectively and strengthen the ability of civil society organizations to advocate for cancer treatment and care.

TBHF’s successful year in improving the healthcare infrastructure for vulnerable communities worldwide ended with a big announcement of the allocation of Dhs3,615,576 via its Refugee & Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Fund, to build a fully-equipped health centre in collaboration with Save the Children in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The project has been initiated, and upon expected completion in mid-2021, will serve 4,000 children under the age of 5, and 2,600 women, annually, across four of the most deprived health zones of DRC’s Kasai Oriental province. 

About the overarching aim of TBHF’s involvement in furthering healthcare, Al Hammadi says, “Healthcare is a basic human necessity, it is a human right, which TBHF is committed to ensuring by offering longer-term intervention and support our beneficiaries, as well as contributes to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, where Good Health And Well-Being are goal #3.”

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