UAE-based businessman and philanthropist Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair has launched an education fund worth $27 million to help finance the education of refugee children in the Middle East.
The fund, announced on the World Refugee Day, will benefit a minimum of 5,000 refugee children living in the UAE and it will run for three years. The new fund comes after the UAE revealed that it will provide a one-year visa to refugees from other Arab countries.
The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will reportedly support high impact education programs at the secondary, tertiary and vocational levels for refugee youth in Jordan and Lebanon.
The grants will be provided through organizations working with refugee children through a competitive selection process and not directly to individuals though. The first round of grants to partner organizations in Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE will be announced before the start of the new school year while the call for the next proposals will be in 2019.
A civil war and ensuing violence have seen millions flee the troubled areas of Syria and Iraq over the last few years. Conflict has led about 5.6 million people to flee from Syria alone while many more are displaced internally.
Education has taken a severe hit amidst the conflict with close to 2 million children out of school, according to UNICEF.
Al Ghurair’s effort comes as many Arab billionaires have pledged their wealth to educate and support Arab youth. In 2015, Abdullah Al Ghurair pledged to donate one third of his wealth to provide quality education to over 15,000 Arab youth. Well-known Saudi businessman Alwaleed bin Talal had also pledged to donate over $32 billion to charity.
Casablanca-based BMCE Bank founder and billionaire Othman Benjelloun donates 4% of the bank’s gross operating income to a foundation that support development of schools and educational programs in rural Morocco.