After an eventful year of easing the suffering of Syrian refugee children, the Big Heart Campaign has joined the world in marking World Refugee Day.
The UNHCR’s theme this year is ‘One family torn apart by war is too many’, and millions of people around the world are showing their solidarity by lighting candles and donating to campaigns to help refugee families around the world.
On World Refugee Day, the Big Heart Campaign announced a $1.5 million donation to the UNHCR to support primary, secondary and technical education for refugees’ education. Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, expressed her gratitude to everyone who has helped the campaign to improve hundreds of thousands of refugees’ lives over the past year:
“Nobody chooses to be a refugee, but our supporters have chosen to step into the refugee children’s lives and become mothers to the motherless, fathers to the fatherless and hope to the hopeless. Because of you, these children will no longer just be forgotten statistics, but grow into strong adults with strong dreams. The Syrian crisis is not just a Syrian problem, but a challenge for all humankind to prove our humanity.”
These words were echoed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who said: “On World Refugee Day, I call on the international community to intensify efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, and to help achieve peace and security so that families can be reunited and refugees can return home.”
In one of its many success stories, the Big Heart Campaign is helping refugees to regain their physical and mental health after opening the Big Heart Clinic at Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Every day the $355,000 clinic helps up to 600 refugees facing malnutrition, chronic diseases and an emergency ward for critical cases. Considering that over 40,000 Syrian babies have been born as refugees, the clinic also offers reproductive health services and post-natal care.
Refugees maimed or traumatized by the war get treatment at the clinic’s rehabilitation facilities for physically and mentally incapacitated. An older clinic that was also supported by the Big Heart Foundation will continue to offer vaccinations and screenings, with both clinics connected via a microwave internet system.
Children have suffered the most in this crisis, and many like 6-year-old Rima have found themselves as far as Sweden, after fleeing to Greece and eventually undergoing a UNHCR-funded operation to treat gunshot wounds to her abdomen.
In 2001 the UN passed a resolution to make World Refugee Day an official day of remembrance. Although the UNHCR was created in 1951 to look after 1 million people uprooted by the Second World War, the number of refugees worldwide has quickly skyrocketed to over 43 million — 29 million of whom are displaced within their own countries.
To achieve its various milestones, the Big Heart Campaign has been heavily supported by the community in Sharjah, the wider UAE and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Donors are urgently requested to send funds through ‘Salam Ya Seghar’, endorsed by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.