Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic organization founded in 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has provided a grant of approximately USD 1 million (AED 3.6 million) to American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) in support of the Early Childhood (ECD) sector in East Jerusalem, Gaza and West Bank.
With only 30% of preschoolers in East Jerusalem, Gaza and West Bank having access to kindergarten and many of the school facilities not meeting international standards, the funds will be directed towards implementing a two-year program for pre-schools.
Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said, “The primary goal of Dubai Cares is to provide children in developing countries with access to quality primary education by designing and implementing comprehensive programs that are sustainable and have long-lasting impact on the lives of the beneficiaries - children, their families and communities alike. Effective primary education is crucial to a child accessing secondary school; likewise the pre-schooling years of a child’s life are critical to a child accessing and benefiting from primary education.”
“Investment in pre-schools will ensure greater success in primary education and beyond, for this reason Dubai Cares is funding this two-year pre-schooling program in partnership with ANERA, a reputable non-profit organization that has been working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for almost 45 years. This program will have an impact on conflict and highly-marginalized areas in East Jerusalem, Gaza and West Bank that are in dire need of our program intervention,” added Al Gurg.
Bill Corcoran, ANERA President said, “We are honored by Dubai Cares’ trust in ANERA to initiate this special partnership for the youngest children in East Jerusalem, Gaza and West Bank. We believe that investing in early childhood development is possibly the most significant investment a society can make.”
The ECD project will renovate and equip 25 preschools in East Jerusalem, Gaza and West Bank and provide training and early childhood development in-service diplomas for 125 teachers. More than 3,400 children aged 3-6 years will benefit from improved care, education and development in some of the most marginalized communities. Special reading packs will ensure children have learning materials at home. The project also aims to raise awareness among parents and caregivers about positive parenting techniques.
ANERA initiated its multi-year ECD program, Right Start, in 2009 and also supports the Palestinian Ministry of Education efforts to improve long-term ECD policy and programs.