The Big Heart Foundation is implementing five humanitarian projects in Pakistan, to create more opportunities in education and employment for the refugees and the marginalised in the country.
Under the directives of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the institution’s funding, which amounts to more than US$1 million will be utilised to support the nation’s educational infrastructure enabling access to a larger number of children and youth, and improve vocational training in Pakistan.
It will also focus on improving integration and youth employability, women’s skills development and community empowerment of refugees and others in need, and follows the directives of Sheikha Jawaher after her visit to Pakistan this February to meet with several humanitarian organisations.
TBHF, the global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, has allocated $580,000 for the construction of an SOS Girls and Boys High School in Rawalakot, in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan. The project seeks to bring high-quality education to children who are under the direct care of SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan, as well as underprivileged children in the wider community. Launched in September, the school is expected to be fully established by July 2022.
A special plaque, to acknowledge the meaningful contribution and support of The Big Heart Foundation for the welfare of children, will be affixed on the school grounds.
Establishment of computer labs and English language labs across SOS Youth Homes in Pakistan In August, TBHF, in cooperation with SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan, launched a project to establish specialised computer training and English language labs in Sargodha, Sialkot and Muzaffarabad. Targeting 450 children and youth, the $80,584 project supports the youth in the care of SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan.
In June, TBHF mobilised funding of $170,162 for the construction of a primary school project in Lakhi Ghulam Shah, Shikarpur, in Pakistan’s Sindh province, in partnership with The Citizens Foundation, TCF.
The TCF-Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi Campus project, named in memory of the Sharjah Ruler’s son, provides high-quality formal education to 180 marginalised children per year, with a particular focus on girls’ education. When complete, the school will employ nine female faculty members and five support staff, of which two will be women.
TBHF estimates that the indirect beneficiaries from this project would number around 1,260 per year, which aligns with the vision of the Pakistani educational laws that stipulate the provision of free and compulsory education for children in the 5 to 16 age group, and the allocation of 10 per cent of seats in schools and private educational institutes for poor children.
In addition, TBHF has pledged monetary support to cover the running costs of the TCF-Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi School for five years on completion of the project.
To support 1,500 Afghan refugee women as well as marginalised local women in Pakistan acquire advanced vocational and technical skills to improve their employability, TBHF, in cooperation with UNHCR, launched a project targeting the upgrading of equipment at the Women Welfare Development Centre in Islamabad and three similar community development centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The $200,045 project, scheduled for completion in December 2021, will provide equipment for industrial tailoring, advanced beauty-therapy, and information technology. Ultimately, the project seeks to build trainees’ self-reliance by improving their access to suitable livelihood development opportunities.
To promote the active engagement and participation of refugees in communities, TBHF has pledged $61,131 for a new community centre project in Haripur in cooperation with UNHCR.
Scheduled for completion at the end of 2021, ‘The Big Heart Foundation’ centre will place special emphasis on the training of more than 1,500 Afghan refugees including youth, women, and adolescent girls in literacy courses, tailoring, business skills, as well as entrepreneurial and financial management skills.
‘The Big Heart Foundation’ centre will also raise community awareness of the risks associated with child marriage and child labour.
An additional 1,000 Afghan refugees including men, women, girls and boys, and those with special needs will also receive direct or indirect benefits from the training sessions and outreach activities.
Speaking on the side-lines of the implementation of the five projects, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, stated that the projects support the efforts of civil organisations in Pakistan to enhance the lives of refugees and the marginalised groups across the country.