The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian organization dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, has announced the building of an AED 2 million sustainable village in Niger in West Africa, which will be named after the late Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi.

To be implemented in partnership with Sharjah Charity International, the project aligns with TBHF’s humanitarian strategy to create a sustainable impact on communities via long-term development projects, which cement community development and improve the quality of life of present and future generations.

Inside the sustainable village: Education, livelihoods, healthcare, clean water & electricity

Scheduled for completion in 2022, the sustainable village will feature 20 houses for families of mainly unemployed and widowed mothers, in a bid to empower them to attain financial security by contributing to  livelihood generating activities like agricultural farming, livestock rearing and traditional crafts, which will all be set up in this village.

Additionally, the village will be equipped with sustainable access to clean water and power. Drinking water will be provided through a distribution system connected to a huge water tank in the village. Furthermore, TBHF will establish a farm to cater to the residents’ agricultural and livestock requirements. Under this project, villagers will be provided with 353 goats, to be reared primarily for their milk, meat, and hide.

Farmlands provided to villagers will provide long-term benefits in the form of seasonal agricultural production to fulfil the needs of the people of the village.

The project will also feature a school with six classrooms to cater to the needs of children who will live in the sustainable village, and more from the neighbouring villages. This will create new employment opportunities for teachers in the community. The AED 2 million project will also include a fully-equipped medical clinic and laboratory to handle a range of medical needs including emergency and childbirth cases.

Offering effective solutions to a host of challenges facing less fortunate communities

TBHF’s humanitarian intervention strategy planned for Niger has come as a response to the ongoing violence and conflict in the West African country which, according to the UN, has forced 7,000 civilians, including 1,000 refugees to flee their homes in search of safety. Additionally, the nation also faced the worst floods in its history this year, which has upended the lives of more than two million people.

According to UNICEF reports, 63 percent of Niger’s population live below the poverty line.

Commenting on the new project, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “TBHF pursues a strategy of implementing sustainable projects that offer effective solutions to a host of challenges facing less fortunate communities, most notably, unemployment, food and housing, and essential services like healthcare, education and vocational training. We chose Niger because of the deteriorating conditions across the country. The new project will provide a decent life to those affected by conflicts and natural disasters, as well as the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

She added: “Through this sustainable village project, our goal is to support global efforts in offering effective, long-term solutions to low-income communities that face exceptional hardship. This project seeks to serve as a practical example for entities working to find solutions to tackle the most urgent challenges for the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world. Once inhabited and fully operational, we look forward to seeing this village thrive socially and economically.”

Abdullah Sultan bin Khadim, Executive Director of the Sharjah Charity International, noted that the project is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and embodies the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of TBHF, to take forward the noble humanitarian values upheld by the emirate to tackle global humanitarian challenges.

He added: “Our partnership with TBHF represents a model of collaborative efforts of institutions in Sharjah to further the UAE’s philanthropic spirit. We look forward to more joint actions and projects that will bring about a transformative difference in the lives of less fortunate people who face extremely challenging circumstances due to poverty, conflict and natural disasters."

Source: National Network Communications (NNC)



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