Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Emirati businessmen and philanthropist, has announced the establishment of the “Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund”, a new initiative to benefit Arab refugee youth in Jordan, and Lebanon and Arab children affected by wars and disasters residing in the UAE.
The announcement was made on the occasion of the annual ‘World Refugee Day’, being observed this year with the theme, ‘Now More Than Ever, We Need to Stand with Refugees’.
The AED100 million initiative will run for 3 years and will support the education of a minimum of 5000 Arab children and youth.
Speaking on the occasion, Al Ghurair said, “I established this fund during the ‘Year of Zayed’ because I believe that philanthropists have a role in helping to support one of the most acute challenges of our region: lack of education opportunities for young people who need it the most. Young people whose education has been interrupted due to armed conflicts deserve a chance to rebuild their lives and have a shot at a good future.”
The fund will support high-impact education programs at the secondary, vocational and tertiary levels of education for refugee youth in Jordan and Lebanon.
The grants provided by the fund will also support children of families, who due to wars and disasters in their home countries, temporarily reside in the UAE but are unable to afford school fees.
The new fund will award grants through a competitive selection process to education institutions and non-governmental organizations working with refugee children and youth from countries affected by wars and disasters.
This first round of grants to partner organisations in Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE will be announced prior to the start of the new school year. The next call for proposals will be in early 2019.
According to UNICEF, over 80% of out-of-school children and youth in the region are affected by conflict. The Syrian conflict has severely exacerbated the situation with 2 million children out of school and hundreds of thousands of youth unable to continue their education.
Applauding this initiative, Filippo Grande, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said, “We welcome the generous commitment by Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair. This significant contribution is in-line with UNHCR’s direction towards a whole-of-society approach where individuals and organisations work hand-in-hand to ensure that people who have been forced to flee their countries are able to rebuild their lives and take control of their futures. The fund highlights the importance of the Arab world’s business community in creating a positive impact through supporting the region’s displaced communities.”
Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education said, “there can be no better investment in the future of the Arab region than to support the education of the most vulnerable – refugee children and youth. I have long advocated for new partnerships and solutions to address funding education for refugee children and youth. This important initiative will make a difference in the lives of thousands of young people and I am encouraged that other business leaders will follow.”
Elaborating on how the fund will be managed, Maysa Jalbout, Chief Executive Officer of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said, “We are grateful to our chairman Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair for entrusting the foundation in developing and administering this important initiative. The refugee education fund will allow us to reach thousands of children through partnerships with education institutions and non-governmental organizations.”