Emirati businessman establishes refugee education fund for children affected by conflicts

DUBAI, 20th June, 2018 (WAM) — Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Emirati businessman and philanthropist, has announced the establishment of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund, a new initiative to benefit refugee youth in Jordan, Lebanon and Arab children affected by wars and disasters residing in the UAE.

The AED100m initiative, commemorating the occasion of the World Refugee Day, will run for 3 years and will support the education of a minimum 5000 children.

Speaking on the occasion, Al Ghurair said, “I established this fund during the Year of Zayed since 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 by conflict deserve a chance to rebuild their lives and have a shot at a good future.”

The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will support high-impact education programmes 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 organisations working with refugee youth from countries affected by wars. The 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 the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, over 80 percent 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 the initiative, Filippo Grande, the United Nations 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 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.”

Commenting on the initiative, Gordon Brown, United Nations 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. 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.”

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