Sharjah’s The Big Heart Foundation: Building Hope and 757 New Homes for Refugees in Kenya


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In a groundbreaking partnership, Sharjah’s The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have joined forces with Arada to create lasting change for displaced families. The initiative, known as ‘Home for a Home,’ has funded the construction of 757 homes within the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya, providing shelter for 448 families. The initiative has also supported the development of water supply infrastructure, benefiting thousands of individuals in Kenya.

A Home for Every Home Sold

Launched in 2022, the ‘Home for a Home’ initiative is a beacon of hope for refugees and the local community. Through this initiative, Arada, in collaboration with The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), funded the construction of a new home or shelter unit in the Kakuma refugee camp for every home sold in Sharjah during Ramadan. This unique approach has allowed refugees to shape their own living spaces according to their preferences while adhering to specific guidelines.

Water Supply Infrastructure

During the first year of the initiative, 407 permanent shelters were constructed in the Kakuma refugee camp. Beyond housing, the initiative has sponsored the development of water supply infrastructure, benefiting over 43,000 people in Kenya. Clean water is essential for health and well-being, and this project ensures that refugees have access to this vital resource. Building on this success, an additional 350 units were constructed in the second year, further improving the living conditions for the displaced populations.

Empowering Refugees

The ‘Home for a Home’ initiative empowers refugees from various countries, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Uganda. By providing cash-for-shelter, refugees can build their own homes according to their preferences and within specific guidelines. This approach also supports local markets by allowing refugees to purchase essential materials from host communities.

Impactful Collaboration

Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, Group CEO of Arada, emphasizes the impact of collaboration: “Our partnership with The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has provided shelter and created communities armed with hope and dignity. Witnessing the real impact of our joint efforts reinforces our commitment to aiding those in need.”

Mariam Al Hammadi, Director General of The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), highlights the strategic vision: “The ‘Home for a Home’ initiative exemplifies TBHF’s commitment to long-term, sustainable solutions. Through partnerships with Arada and UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, we’ve built resilient communities with access to essential resources.”

Nader El Nakib, UNHCR’s Chief of Private Sector Partnerships in MENA, underscores the collective impact: “This partnership shows how innovative action can improve the lives of vulnerable host communities and forcibly displaced people worldwide.”

Stimulating local economies:

One of the key benefits of the ‘Home for a Home’ initiative is its positive impact on local markets. By offering cash-for-shelter, the initiative enables refugees to purchase essential materials like cement and timber from the local communities. This mutually beneficial exchange provides refugees with essential resources and contributes to the economic growth of the host region.

A Brighter Future

Since its inception, Arada has been a key CSR partner for The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), supporting its mission to empower vulnerable children and families globally. The ‘Home for a Home’ campaign has made significant strides in improving the lives of refugees in Kenya, a country hosting over 767,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. Through targeted efforts, this project continues to provide refuge and hope to thousands of displaced individuals.

Sharjah’s The Big Heart Foundation, in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Arada, has proven that meaningful change is possible through joint efforts. The ‘Home for a Home’ initiative has built essential housing, created a sense of community, and restored hope for vulnerable populations. By addressing the urgent needs of the global refugee crisis, this partnership exemplifies the importance of strategic collaborations in making a lasting impact.

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