Target of reaching 100,000 young and child refugees by 2020
KUWAIT: Alghanim Industries, one of the largest privately owned companies in the MENA region, yesterday announced the launch of its new initiative, named The MENA Philanthropy Leaders Initiative for Refugee Youth and Children. The initiative aims to raise at least $10 million in private sector funds to help educate and train Syrian refugees in the MENA region.
The initiative has been formally agreed upon during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, between the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Chief Executive Officer of Alghanim Industries, Omar K Alghanim. The announcement builds on a 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Alghanim Industries and the UNHCR. The MoU aims to fund and advocate for a series of educational and social awareness programs, including language skillsand homework support groups, to aid the education of Syrian children and youth and prepare them to be contributing members to their host countries or upon their return to Syria.
The initial funding target is $10 million, with an immediate $1.5 million commitment from Alghanim Industries, which will be followed by efforts to advocate for additional private sector commitments from the business community in the MENA region. The initiative will be championed by Omar K Alghanim, who will coordinate efforts to mobilize the much needed funds from regional business leaders and philanthropists who share the vision of preventing a lost generation.
The targeted $10 million in funding will be utilized for activities including vocational and academic education, skills training and support for refugee and internally displaced young people. The aim of the initiative is to reach some 100,000 young refugees and offer them interventions that will help them be the builders of economic and social progress when they return to their countries of origin.
Announcing the initiative, Omar K Alghanim said: “Private sector leaders in our region must play a role in helping to rebuild economies and societies affected by the refugee crisis. We must focus our attention on ensuring displaced children and youth have access to the education and skills training they need. This is fundamental if they are to become constructive critical thinkers and great problem solvers – the next generation of business, social and political leaders.”
He went on to say, “Alghanim Industries has a long track-record in providing others with the support they need to become entrepreneurs and this represents an opportunity to extend our efforts towards struggling refugees, and bring hope to countries which have experienced the tragedy of conflict and displacement. In addition to pledging $1.5 million to kick-start the initiative, I will be coordinating efforts to mobilize at least $8.5 million from other philanthropic sources. We will then work with UNHCR to ensure the funds are deployed to maximum effect.”
Applauding this initiative, Filippo Grandi said: “This important initiative by Omar Alghanim is in-line with UNHCR’s strategic direction towards a whole-of-society approach; individuals and companies working hand in hand to ensure that people who have been forced to flee are able to rebuild their lives and take control of their futures. UNHCR welcomes this generous commitment, which highlights the importance of MENA’s business community in supporting the region’s displaced communities.”
Omar K Alghanim conveyed his commitment to empowering the underprivileged, supporting education and encouraging entrepreneurship, which form Alghanim Industries’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) pillars. In addition to its partnership with UNHCR, the company is the largest supporter of INJAZ-Kuwait, and collaborates with AMIDEAST to provide language support to children at the Children’s Home orphanage in Kuwait.