The Big Heart Foundation initiative dedicated to girls has made significant strides within a year
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF: “I call upon the global community to rally their efforts to make resources of education and training for girls accessible to them, enabling them to contribute to building their countries.”
“Today, we applaud millions of girls worldwide who despite being oppressed and marginalised continue to be sources of energy, power and creativity. To them we want to say that we are walking alongside you…”
Sharjah, October 10, 2018 – Every year since 2012, October 11 is marked by the UN as the International Day of the Girl Child to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. It is a day dedicated to raining global awareness on gender inequality and draw attention to the need for providing girls equal opportunities for a better future.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness 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 (UNHCR), launched ‘The Girl Child Fund’ last year – the first-of-its-kind in the region – to advocate for the rights of girls worldwide by investing in their skills training and education, and financing projects that seek to promote livelihood activities for young women around the world who are facing crises.
According to a UN workforce forecast for the next decade, 1 billion people including 600 million adolescent girls will be entering the workforce, of which 90 percent will be taken up by the developing nations’ informal sectors that are most prone to low pay and other forms of exploitation. Under its 2018 theme, ‘With Her: A Skilled GirlForce’, the International Day of the Girl Child will begin a year-long journey to unify the efforts of global stakeholders, rights advocates, governments and individuals to ensure girls have the tools and opportunities they need to attain employability skills.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, impressed upon global community-wide efforts to tackle the challenge with the following words: “In an age when workplaces are undergoing constant automation and innovation, there is an even greater need to develop skills of young people, both girls and boys. When we consolidate efforts to prepare them to enter the economy, their work will not only earn them a living but will be instrumental to building peaceful and cohesive communities.”
Sheikha Jawaher added: “Today, we applaud millions of girls worldwide who despite being oppressed and marginalised continue to be sources of energy, power and creativity. To them we want to say that we are walking alongside you and will not cease our efforts till the world becomes a place where every young girl has the opportunities she needs to educate and employ herself, and free her from all forms of abuse and violence. Remembering the UN slogan, ‘No one left behind’, we say that development can be achieved only by ensuring equality of opportunity and respecting human rights.
“I call upon the global community to rally their efforts to make resources of education and training for girls accessible to them, enabling them to contribute to building their countries.”
The Girl Child Fund: Significant strides in empowering girls worldwide
The launch of the TBHF Girl Child Fund in 2017 is a continuation of Sharjah’s unapparelled efforts to support humanitarian issues globally, and through its regional and international partnerships and initiatives, sheds light on the pressing issue of protecting and advocating for the rights of girls worldwide.
Inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhamad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and the directions of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness, the Girl Child Fund has committed itself to addressing core issues and challenges faced by girls particularly in the MENA region, aiming to ensure that they have access to education, healthcare, food, security and social and psychological support.
The fund’s agenda prioritizes girls’ education and awareness, advocates for the adoption and activation of policies that protects them from being trafficked, married underage and sold to child labour. The Fund has entered into regional and global partnerships to expand the scope of its operations in order to reach the largest possible number of girls.
In January 2018, the TBHF Girl Child Fund collaborated with the Malala Fund and donated USD 760,000 to facilitate the building of a school for over 1,000 girls in Swat Valley – Yousafzai’s home town in Pakistan.
TBHF also partnered with the renowned French jewellery brand, Boucheron, to conduct a silent auction of their ‘Boucheron Ava Nod’ piece, whose proceeds were donated to the Girl Child Fund.
Another collaboration with the Sharjah Guide Girls (SGG) led to the launch of the ‘Knots of Impact’ campaign, through which the TBHF Girl Child Fund aims to support girls’ education worldwide by encouraging humanitarian and volunteer work to raise funds to give girls access to education and employment opportunities.
Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “Strengthening a culture of peace and tolerance forms the cornerstone of our humanitarian efforts and is in line with the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, one of the most prominent international advocates of the protection and preservation of the rights and opportunities of vulnerable communities, especially women and girls.
“This is because most girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises are suffering even more. TBHF, through its Girl Child Fund seeks to make significant strides in our efforts to fulfill girls’ right to education, employment, safety and security, freedom from violence and abuse because these are their human rights, and no one should be in a position to disregard or violate them. By changing their present, we will be changing the future of the world for the better.”
The exceptional achievements of The Big Heart Foundation and its Girl Child Fund with a year have added significant value to humanitarian efforts and relief operations worldwide.