Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 3 September, 2019 – The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund has announced the grantees of the second round of funding in Dubai today. Following the successful completion of the inaugural round in 2018, the Fund has identified eight beneficiaries from Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

The grantees include the Emirates Red Crescent in the UAE, UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency and Relief International in Jordan, and Unite Lebanon Youth Project (ULYP), Beit Atfal Assumoud, Alfanar, Digital Opportunity Trust and War Child Holland in Lebanon.

Established with the aim of supporting thousands of out-of-school young refugees in continuing their education, the second round aims to disburse grants totaling AED25 million to organizations supporting refugee students in Jordan and Lebanon, and children affected by conflicts and disasters who are temporarily residing in the UAE. The announcement coincides with the beginning of the new academic year 2019-2020.

Speaking on the significance of education and upskilling of refugee youth, His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said: “We believe that education is just as important for refugee youth as food and shelter. It is not just a basic right and necessity, but also a tool for recovery. Going back to school partially restores normalcy for the young people and enables them to obtain knowledge and skills that will help them chart a successful career path and earn a sustainable income.

“Furthermore, education transforms lives and contributes to building holistic and progressive communities. Now more than ever, the private sector needs to come together to create platforms that provide quality, inclusive and equitable education to refugees and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. We should also encourage partnerships between governments, businesses and individuals in boosting available local resources for education.”

He added: “The results and impact of the first round were rewarding and humbling at the same time. Our goal for this round is to reach even more students. We have committed to supporting over 10,000 refugees through the eight grantees in the UAE, Jordan and Lebanon. The focus this year is on secondary-level and vocational education to equip the students with skills that are relevant to the economy and meet labor market demands. Along with our partners, we seek to identify new approaches to long-standing challenges in refugee education that will lead to improved educational outcomes.”

In closing, he said: “We urge other philanthropists, individuals and companies to unite, as it is never too late to build a better future together.”

Local partnership for a sustainable program

For the second consecutive year, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will continue to work with the Emirates Red Crescent to finance the school fees of 400 out-of-school children who are temporarily residing in the UAE due to conflicts in their home countries.

New and continued partnerships in Jordan and Lebanon

In Jordan, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will join forces with UNHCR to enroll over 1,000 students in English language courses through a blended approach to address one of the biggest challenges they face in pursuing higher education. UNHCR will also support 700 vulnerable non-Syrian refugees to assist them with tuition fees and other hidden educational costs to enable them to continue education.

Commenting on the partnership, Khalid Khalifa, Regional Representative, Gulf Area Officer, UNHCR, said: “’We are honored to partner with Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund on such an important project. Refugee children often face multiple barriers preventing their access to education. This is why it is imperative that we continue working with committed partners to find innovative solutions to tackle the many barriers preventing refugee children from accessing their right to an education.’

Relief International, another grantee in Jordan, will provide 600 students who have dropped out of school or are at the risk of dropping out with access to a non-formal education program accredited by the Government of Jordan. The project focuses on helping young women return to school to complete their formal education.

In Lebanon, Al Fanar will support 3,000 students eligible for grade 8 and 9 in their Brevet (9th grade) exams with quality education at secondary level. The grantee will also offer additional blended coding and programming courses for 160 refugees to qualify them for jobs in the digital economy. Meanwhile, ULYP will support 250 students of grades 7 and 9 in preparing for the brevet (9th Grade) exam. The grantee will also raise awareness on the importance of education among refugee parents.

Similarly, Digital Opportunity Trust will prepare 2,400 young refugees for employment in the digital workspace through enrolling them in CISCO-accredited courses, in addition to courses accredited by Google, Facebook and Microsoft on Digital and Media Literacy, Mobile Application Development, Social Media Marketing, and Robotics, among other subjects. War Child Holland will provide remedial strengthening and language support to 2,000 youngsters in high-concentration refugee communities.

Finally, Beit Atfal Assumoud will utilize the grant to place 220 young people in industry-related apprenticeship programs and assist them in finding formal full-time or freelance employment.

In round one, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund awarded AED49 million in direct funding to notable educational and humanitarian organizations to enable 6,788 refugee students to attend secondary school, vocational education, and university, as well as to acquire soft skills so that they can realize their aspirations for the future. Round two disburses AED25 million to grantees, bringing the total of both rounds to AED75 million, will see over 10,000 children returning to complete their education at different levels, bringing the total number of students benefiting from the two rounds to over 17,000. The third and final funding round will follow in 2020.

Established by His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Emirati businessman and philanthropist, in 2018, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund seeks to provide refugee students with market-relevant education and skills to help them build sustainable lives.