On the occasion of World Refugee Day, Dubai Cares has highlighted the plight of 43.3 million people worldwide forcibly displaced from their homes and communities. Dubai Cares, through its ongoing efforts, has extended support to refugees and especially children who constitute 46 per cent of refugees and people in refugee-like situations, so that they have a safe haven where they can recover from mental and physical trauma and rebuild their hopes for a better future.
Commenting on this occasion, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: “Children and their families who have experienced war-related trauma and disruption as refugees are affected by issues such as poverty, hunger and unemployment and are unfortunate victims in this ongoing struggle to create a better future. We are working to create a sense of normalcy and hope for refugees who have been uprooted from their homes and communities.”
One of Dubai Cares’ ongoing programs reaching out to refugees is a school-feeding program in Ethiopia benefitting 25,000 primary school age children from Somalia. The refugees are sheltered in United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) camps in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, which, in the second half of 2012, received more than 100,000 Somali refugees affected by the 2011 food crisis, described by the United Nations as the “worst in a generation”.
In Dollo Ado the children of school going age school comprise about 46% of the total refugee population of which only 31% of them attend school and the school feeding program. Schools in camps have morning and afternoon shifts in order to cover as many pupils as possible. The program aims to stabilize school enrolment of refugee girls and boys in WFP-assisted schools and to combat the malnutrition crises of the refugees by providing on-site hot meals to school children. The program provides meals to schoolchildren in the form of a porridge made up of Supercereal (100 gr/person/day), a highly nutritious food fortified with vitamins and minerals, and sugar (20 gr/person/day).
Dubai Cares has also supported programs in the Middle East, particularly across the Occupied Palestinian territories, and worked with Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. In the Occupied Palestinian territories while partnering with Medicines Sans Frontiere, Dubai Cares has supported emergency medical support for children in the Kemal Edwan Hospital as well as a deworming campaign for UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) school children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in order to promote and improve their health status. In Lebanon & Jordan, Dubai Cares was part of an educational emergency program, implemented by UNRWA, which ensured Palestinian refugee children in Nahr El Bared camp were given access to basic education services. In Jordan, Dubai Cares in partnership with UNRWA supported the building of a new elementary and preparatory school for boys in Al Zarqa Refugee Camp. The program included the building of a fully furnished and equipped school to replace dilapidated buildings. This ensured that students could learn in a safe environment conducive to learning.