Dubai, U.A.E. – 29 April 2020: H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE), has launched a Covid-19 Online Learning Emergency Fund as part of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund. The emergency fund is dedicated to supporting educational solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is having an impact on education for refugee children and youth. It works to complement the continuation of existing programs in Jordan and Lebanon, as measures being put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus are severely undermining access to education for refugees.
The fund focuses on the gaps and challenges faced by the most vulnerable refugee youth and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, which are in the top 10 countries hosting the largest numbers of refugees globally. It aims to reach 6,000 children and youth to ensure the continuity of their education during the current crisis. For these communities, home-schooling is inaccessible due to the compounded challenges faced in continuing their education through online learning.
As a philanthropist focused on education and based in the Middle East, H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair is acutely aware of the challenges that these vulnerable populations face when it comes to accessing education, and the adverse impact this can have on these children and youth when their education is interrupted. The fund was designed to focus on the most marginalized and vulnerable youth in the two countries and ensure they are not forgotten. The fund is focusing specifically on refugees living in overcrowded camps, informal tent settlements and congested host communities where access to online education is currently out of reach.
This emergency fund helps organizations address their shortfalls in transferring their education programs to online modalities or TV. This includes logistical barriers such as the lack of internet and technology access, which will be addressed through the provision of internet, laptops and tablets, as well as technical support for digital content. The fund will also provide access to innovative modalities of learning, such as engaging high quality bilingual educational platforms and online tutoring support.
On the occasion, H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, said: “Online learning has become the new norm to ensure the continuity of education for millions of students across the world, and we know that access to this modality of learning is restricted for too many refugee communities. Refugee education has been severely affected by the pandemic and the aim of launching the Covid-19 Online Learning Emergency Fund as part of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund is to collaborate closely with grantees and partners to find creative solutions to address pressing needs for refugees and vulnerable students.”
UNHCR, a strategic partner of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund, emphasized the need for more support to refugee education during this unprecedented crisis. Commenting on the initiative, Khaled Khalifa, Senior Advisor, Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said: “The world is going through challenging times. The spread of COVID-19 is disrupting the lives and education of millions of refugees. The strategic partnership between UNHCR and The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will help provide refugees in Jordan and Lebanon who are not equipped with the necessary tools to join their peers in distance learning without further exposing them to infection.”