Refugee Zakat Fund helps around 6 million forcibly displaced people since its establishment: UNHCR

DUBAI, 20th March, 2023 (WAM) – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, launched its Islamic Philanthropy annual report today at a joint event in Dubai in partnership with Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund. The report highlights the importance of utilizing Islamic Philanthropy tools and their role in responding to the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable forcibly displaced people worldwide.

The report indicates that the Refugee Zakat Fund enabled UNHCR to support around 6 million refugees and internally displaced people in 26 countries since it was piloted in 2017, through Zakat, Zakat Al Fitr, Sadaqah, and Sadaqah Jariyah contributions received by the Fund. The beneficiaries included more than 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced people who were assisted in 2022.

The event included a panel discussion on some of the ways Zakat and Sadaqah can be utilized to advance education opportunities for refugee youth, in addition to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In his keynote speech, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Founder of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation and Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund, reiterated his commitment towards supporting refugee youth and children through educational grants and programs in the Middle East and North Africa region, and stated: “Our mission at the Fund is to create opportunities to activate the potential of Arab youth, and we reiterate our commitment to support bright refugees and displaced youth in particular with education and skills training that they need to thrive not just survive.” He also added: “We join forces with UNHCR today to acknowledge the growing displacement crisis that is affecting millions of lives across the Arab region and globally, and to showcase that together, we can build practical and innovative solutions that will help create a better future for our youth particularly through the power of strategic Islamic philanthropy.”

On his part, Khaled Khalifa, UNHCR’s Senior Advisor and Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, said: “We appreciate our partnership with the Fund, which employs Islamic Philanthropy tools to provide refugees and displaced persons with access to education. Empowering youth, bringing them hope and building their resilience, will ensure they become active contributors to their communities.”

Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult for refugees to gain access to education. According to UNHCR, 68% of school-aged refugee children are enrolled in primary school, 37% of refugee youth are enrolled in secondary education, while only 6% of refugees are enrolled in higher education.