The Big Heart Foundation Makes US$ 100,000 Contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

02 July 2018
 © WHO 2018 Photo by Mahmoud Daher

The Big Heart Foundation, based in Sharjah, made a US$100,000 contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency’s recently launched call for funds, “A lifeline for Gaza: sustaining urgent health services for Palestine refugees”. The UNRWA appeal seeks to support UNRWA in responding to the short and medium-term health care and psychosocial needs of Palestine refugees injured during the ongoing Great March of Return demonstrations which began on 30 March 2018. This is on top of funds appealed for in the 2018 UNRWA Emergency Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Specifically, the contribution from the Big Heart Foundation will go towards employing additional practical nursing staff across the 22 UNRWA health centres in Gaza to ensure standardized care, particularly for those released prematurely from hospitals. Practical nurses will also be engaged in providing mental health and psychosocial support.

“This much-needed contribution by the Big Heart Foundation towards mitigating the extraordinary additional stresses placed on the collapsing Gaza health system in the wake of the Great March of Return demonstrations is very welcome,” says UNRWA Director of Operations in Gaza, Matthias Schmale. “We are very grateful to the Big Heart Foundation for addressing the needs of Palestine refugees in Gaza at this critical time.”

Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of The Big Heart Foundation, said: “The consequences of such prolonged and sustained violence mean that healthcare resources are stretched to their limits – and beyond. It is not just a case of building more hospitals and more care units, the lack of qualified professionals has to be an immediate priority in order for people to receive emergency treatment, and be given expert diagnosis and prognosis in the hands of experienced doctors and nurses. In funding this project, we are able to provide not just more care for the patients who are in such dire need of treatment but also relieve some of the enormous pressure which the medical staff are under, in turn, helping them to be more efficient and effective in their roles.”

About The Big Heart Foundation

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi (Wife of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah) was appointed as UNHCR's first Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children in May 2013. In this role, Sheikha Jawaher helped increase public awareness about refugees and the work of UNHCR, with a focus on children. Her previous work with charities and her fund-raising initiatives are testament to her commitment to helping relieve the suffering of people affected by war, especially women and children. After the huge success of the Big Heart Campaign during its two years, it was re-launched by Her Highness in 2015 as an independent foundation. The Big Heart Foundation currently has four Funds, The Palestinian Children Fund, The Refugee & IDP Fund, Girl Child Fund & MENA Fund.

In the future, new philanthropic initiatives ‎for the family and children may be added to the foundation's scope of work as per Her Highness's directives. 

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance. 

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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