Spreading awareness among youth is important in assisting the refugee problem in the region, Jawaher says
Dubai: Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has called on youth in the UAE to play an active role in helping with the refugee problem in the region.
Shaikha Jawaher, who is also Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, told Gulf News in an exclusive interview that young people in the UAE need to be aware of the realities of war and problems of displacement in order to contribute to solving the regional problem.
Spreading this kind of awareness is the main aim of the upcoming Sharjah conference titled ‘Investing in the future’ taking place on October 15-16.
“Younger members of society need to see the effects of war, in the hope that this will motivate them to choose more productive futures for themselves as well as offer time or resources to assist in the refugee problem,” explained Shaikha Jawaher.
The conference, which will discuss child and youth displacement issues and ways to protect refugee children, will also hold a youth forum for over 600 university students, academics and faculty members. “We want to inspire the young minds of our region to want to make a difference,” said Shaikha Jawaher.
The workshops at the youth forum will expose young people to the realities and problems of displacement and inform them about the importance of social entrepreneurship.
Education is a long-tern solution
Pointing out that any type of assistance given to those afflicted by war is a great deal in itself, Shaikha Jawaher highlighted the need to focus on the protection of refugee children by securing their rights, well-being, and education. “The future lies with the youth and we need to focus on educating them,” said Shaikha Jawaher.
She explained that while displaced children need food and shelter, they also require education and the opportunity to have a brighter future. “They need education as a long-term method to keep them on a productive path,” she said.
Shaikha Jawaher’s Big Heart Campaign has also shifted its focus to education. The campaign has assisted hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugee children with emergency health care, blankets, shelter, food and clothing- and is now focused on education. “I began the Big Heart Campaign because I did not want Syrian refugee children to be forgotten,” said Shaikha Jawaher.
Earlier this year the campaign donated $1.5 million (Dh5.51 million) to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support primary, secondary and technical education for refugees.
“There are currently about 1 million school-age Syrian refugee children and half of them are enrolled in school,” said Shaikha Jawaher. The campaign has raised money for teachers, school books, and has increased access to schools in order to help refugee children continue their education.