The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) – a Sharjah-based global humanitarian organisation dedicated to helping people in need worldwide – is implementing three key initiatives in Egypt. The projects, which promote development across a number of sectors in the country’s capital as well as in its more rural areas, form part of the organisation’s commitment to assisting communities in need around the globe.
TBHF has allocated USD 2 million (AED 7.4 million) in grants for the three projects, with the foundation partnering with local bodies to facilitate their implementation. The three initiatives have been designed to improve the standards of healthcare in their respective areas whilst ensuring capacity building of local talent to build social, healthcare and educational service provision. The overall aim of the activities is to enhance the capabilities of staff and enable them to effectively give back to their communities.
“The Big Heart Foundation seeks to provide humanitarian support that elevates the living conditions of target communities in line with the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Big Heart Foundation. TBHF is committed to supporting vulnerable individuals and providing them with education and training to increase their level of engagement in the development of their countries. The projects in Egypt form part of the foundation’s vision and mission to improve the living conditions of individuals in impoverished communities and in communities that are struggling to provide adequate essential services,” said Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF.
The first two projects target institutions in Cairo, with the Abbasia Hospital for Mental Health and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) benefitting from TBHF’s grant funds. The third project “The Egypt Network for Integrated Development” (ENID/El Nidaa), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, aims to enhance basic services in Upper Egypt through improving healthcare infrastructures and addressing gaps in gender equality.
The grant provided by TBHF to Egypt’s General Secretariat of Mental Health and Addiction will support the development of a Child and Adolescent Unit at Abbasia Hospital and will facilitate 20,000 psychotherapy sessions a year for patients. A significant proportion of the funds has gone towards the establishment of a day care centre for young people with autism, with some funds being earmarked for research and for the creation of awareness campaigns about the condition.
The half-a-million cancer patients that NCI cares for annually in Cairo has led to the organisation experiencing shortages in human resources and challenges with its information technology network. TBHF has helped the hospital tackle these issues by funding a complete IT transformation drive. The current IT infrastructure of the hospital will be upgraded through targeted staffing, the provision of IT training and GAP analysis. The project hopes to ultimately enable the establishment to operate as a fully digitised hospital with increased service capacity.
TBHF’s third initiative is being implemented in partnership with the UNDP in rural areas of Upper Egypt, where half the population live under the national poverty line. The grant provided by TBHF to UNDP will go towards developing rural healthcare units, providing combined literacy and vocational training for young women, in addition to creating income generation opportunities to the various beneficiaries of the initiative. All project activities aim to improve basic services and ultimately bring about sustained local economic development.
Al Hammadi stressed that the three projects had been selected after extensive studies of the social and healthcare realities in a number of Egyptian Governorates. She highlighted that the analysis was conducted in collaboration with the UNDP and other local bodies from the government and private sectors in Egypt to ensure results that would bring about a positive sustained impact to the lives of beneficiaries.
The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based philanthropic foundation, was officially established in May 2015 by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation. The Foundation’s mandate is to protect and empower vulnerable children and their families, focusing primarily on the Arab world, but extending support to areas in most need.
TBHF envisions a world where the vulnerable are protected and empowered to live with dignity. To achieve its goals, the Foundation administers grants through a competitive application process for qualified implementing partners and advocates for vulnerable persons to push policy changes. It convenes global humanitarian actors to inspire sustainable solutions – always placing women and children at the centre of its activities. TBHF currently has five funds supporting its main programme areas: the Palestine Fund (Salam Ya Seghar), the Refugee Fund, the Girl Child Fund, the Ameera Fund (Global Cancer Fund), and The MENA Fund.