Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Emirati businessman and philanthropist, has announced the establishment of a AED100 million ($27.2 million) education fund for refugees.
On the occasion of World Refugee Day, he said the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will benefit refugee youths affected by wars and disasters residing in the UAE.
The initiative will run for three years and will support the education of a minimum of 5,000 children, a statement said.
The move comes as international funding for refugee education has not been able to keep up with the vast need in the largest host countries.
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 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 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 first round of grants 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 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.
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 organizations 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."
Maysa Jalbout, CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, added: “The refugee education fund will allow us to reach thousands of children through partnerships with education institutions and non-governmental organisations.”
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