UNHCR and The Big Heart Foundation: Nine Years of Transformative Impact

April 1, 2021

Our work protecting and assisting refugees around the world would be impossible without the cooperation of valued partners who are committed to alleviating the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable and helping them build a better future. In the United Arab Emirates, one of our major partnerships is with The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), established by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and UNHCR’s first Eminent Advocate. A prominent philanthropic and humanitarian organization, TBHF has worked since its establishment to enable children and families in the MENA region and beyond to lead empowered, dignified lives. As an organization, TBHF has supported lifesaving and transformative initiatives in the sectors of health, education, emergency assistance, women’s empowerment, and more.

Our work at UNCHR is greatly enriched by our partnerships with organizations like TBHF. The commitment, enthusiasm, and expertise that TBHF contributes make it possible for us to continue supporting refugees worldwide, creating as large an impact as possible.

Along with UNHCR, TBHF has supported the provision of quality education, shelter, healthcare services, and livelihood opportunities to more than one million refugees in over 20 countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Perhaps the greatest testament to TBHF’s commitment is the speed with which they responded to crises that occurred in 2020. In response to the outbreak of Covid-19, TBHF provided emergency treatment and health referrals to 187 Syrian refugees in Jordan with underlying health conditions that increased their risk of suffering acutely from the virus. In the aftermath of the Beirut blast, TBHF brought relief to 2,496 residents of Beirut by providing weatherproofing kits for damaged homes, undertaking repairs on residences, and rehabilitating housing units. Finally, after the devastating and unprecedented floods in Sudan, TBHF offered emergency shelter assistance to 1,410 displaced Sudanese. Emergencies such as these require quick, effective, and concerted efforts to save as many lives as possible, and mitigate long-term impacts for victims. TBHF has been instrumental in delivering the assistance needed precisely when it is needed, to allow families to focus on themselves and their futures.

In addition to providing emergency assistance, TBHF has supported UNHCR’s education initiatives, such as building and rehabilitating schools and providing schools with supplies and equipment. TBHF has also focused on providing women with opportunities to build skills and seek employment, by establishing and rehabilitating community centers that provide skills training for women aimed at improving their livelihood outcomes. Moreover, TBHF has placed great importance on the provision of quality healthcare services to refugees, as shown by its establishment of the first healthcare clinic in Zaatari Camp and the rehabilitation of a clinic in Kakuma Camp.

Our work at UNCHR is greatly enriched by our partnerships with organizations like TBHF. The commitment, enthusiasm, and expertise that TBHF contributes make it possible for us to continue supporting refugees worldwide, creating as large an impact as possible. Furthermore, our collaboration with TBHF is a testament to the power and importance of working together to address the world’s most pressing issues. We look forward to continuing to improve the lives of refugees along with our partners in the years to come.