SHARJAH: The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) a Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, has donated Dhs550,000 ($150,000) to support Rohingya refugees in Malaysia and displaced people in Iraq.
Distributed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, the funds will be used to help overcome the recipients’ challenging circumstances and difficult living conditions.
Approximately $82,000 of the donation will go towards helping displaced people in Iraq, with $68,000 given to assist Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. Coinciding with Eid Al Fitr, the organisers of THBF’s humanitarian contribution say that it is being given to help inspire optimism and hope in those who have been forced to leave their homes through conflict or persecution and to share with them the blessings of Eid.
"TBHF's cash donations are made in line with the vision of the wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Big Heart Foundation, and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, to improve the living conditions of refugees worldwide and enable them to lead a life of dignity. We sought through this donation to support these vulnerable people living under extremely difficult circumstances and to share the joy of Eid with them," said Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of Salam Ya Seghar, a TBHF initiative to improve the welfare of refugee children.
Speaking about Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, Al Hammadi said: "The Big Heart Foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering of Rohingya refugees who are living under extremely challenging conditions. This is not the first time that the foundation has made a donation towards them.
In July 2015, The Big Heart Foundation donated Dhs1 million to support UNHCR's efforts in assisting these displaced people, following the rise in the number of Rohingyas leaving Myanmar because of violence and persecution."
She continued: "Sheikha Jawaher has reiterated her commitment to closely following up the issue of Myanmar refugees, especially children, who according to UNHCR data account for 20 percent of the total refugees in Malaysia. She also underlined the need to reunite children who have been separated from their parents, in addition to urgently providing them with education and healthcare."
During the visit of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi to UNHCR's Harmony Refugee Learning Centre in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur in May, Her Highness pledged through the Big Heart Foundation and in coordination with UNHCR to explore new mechanisms and expand the scope of services provided to refugees, so as to ensure their fundamental rights.
With respect to Iraq, Al Hammadi highlighted that there are nearly 120,000 internally displaced persons living in 12 camps in Dohuk Governorate and cited reports that indicate that the capacity of these camps is not sufficient to host all the internally displaced people. She stated that outside of these camps, the majority of displaced persons are scattered in hundreds of informal slum dwellings that lack basic standards to provide for decent living, which only adds to the ordeal they have already endured.
In June 2015, Sheikha Jawaher launched TBHF to coincide with World Refugee Day. It followed the decision issued by her to transform what was then The Big Heart Campaign into a global humanitarian foundation. The move was aimed at redoubling efforts to help refugees and people in need worldwide, with the new foundation adding significantly to the UAE's rich portfolio and long record of humanitarian initiatives regionally and globally.