Coinciding with World Refugee Day on June 20, as the globe takes a moment to acknowledge the crisis of over 80 million forcibly displaced people globally, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund today announced the launch of the third cycle of grants to provide access to market-driven upskilling courses that pave the way for elevated livelihoods. In addition, the grants will also support refugee youth in Lebanon and Jordan in completing secondary education.

The third round of grants will support eight programs by 8 partners in the two countries. They have been chosen after a rigorous selection process for their innovative approaches to addressing the challenge of providing access to education for refugee youth, following the COVID-19 pandemic and the Beirut blast of 2020. 

The new partners for the third cycle of the Fund are: In Lebanon, the MMKN Initiative, Unite Lebanon Youth Project (ULYP), Lebanese Association for Scientific Research (LASER), Borderless, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Lebanon; and in Jordan, QuestScope, Madrasati, and Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Jordan.

All eight programs, which will collectively support over 11,200 young learners, were chosen based on their work with communities and their innovative solutions around impact. With the third cycle of the grants, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will bring a meaningful difference to the lives of over 38,500 refugees and host community youth.

H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said: “This fund was born out of a UAE legacy that we inherited from our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who taught us to support humanity and countries around the globe. This fund recognizes that the most vulnerable Arab youth need education and the surrounding support to assure they find a pathway to work and entrepreneurship. I wanted to make sure that we would not be just another donor, but that we would create real partnerships to have greater impact for these youth. For example, we offer insights on how to use successful business practices so that our partners can have better results and scale their approaches. We have noticed that the partners have appreciated our different approach, especially when there are issues that need to be solved and we engage to help find solutions with them.”

He added: “On World Refugee Day, we are announcing the third cycle of our grants to support marginalized youth and bring back hope for a better future. With this new cycle, we hope to reach over 80% of our initial target when I started this fund. This is possible because we selected partners whose determination in designing innovative solutions to long-standing challenges in refugee education was matched with an open mind to adopting practical effective and efficient business approaches. These outcomes reflect what can happen when strategic philanthropy and a shared responsibility towards empowerment and education practically help refugees to build the kind of better future they deserve.”

Organizations in Lebanon and Jordan were invited to submit innovative ideas that build on their existing work to address the education challenges faced by refugee youth in the two countries. Lessons from the crises of 2020 were to be incorporated in the proposal, centered on two core objectives – upskilling refugee youth by providing accredited and/or industry recognized certifications; and secondary education access through initiatives that give access, stay in and/or complete formal schooling through innovative educational programs with a digital/online or blended component.

From over 73 submissions, eight projects managed by partners who work directly with refugees, were selected through a rigorous selection process for the grants.

Among the programs is one that focuses on French schools in Lebanon which provides academic strengthening and remedial education for thousands of refugees and Lebanese students at risk. Another initiative will be held in Ouzaii and Karantina, two marginalized refugee camps, with the latter bearing the acute brunt of the blasts.

In Jordan, one of the program targets school dropouts by working closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure that students complete secondary education and are transitioned seamlessly into formal education

The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund was launched by His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair on World Refugee Day 2018. An AED 120 million fund that aims to support refugees and vulnerable youth by providing access to secondary, vocational, and tertiary levels of education in the UAE, Jordan, and Lebanon. The Fund’s goal is to provide youth with hope and security amidst the disruption – empowering them with knowledge and skills, offering pathways to education and livelihoods, and enabling them to positively contribute to their hosting country.

The grants are awarded through a competitive selection process to education institutions and non-governmental organizations working with refugee youth and vulnerable host community youth. In addition, high-impact education programs that are designed to address an acute education gap are also offered.