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Cartier charity gives UNHCR grant for education and sport in Zambia

News Stories, 30 March 2009

© UNHCR
Her Royal Highness Princess Haya and Bernard Fornas (middle) hand over the cheque to UNHCR's Hamdi Bukhari (far right).

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, March 30 (UNHCR) Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of Dubai's ruler, has presented a cheque for 646,000 dirhams (US$176,000) from an annual Cartier charity campaign to the UN refugee agency for education and sports programmes in Zambia.

Princess Haya, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, and Cartier International President Bernard Fornas handed over the cheque to Hamdi Bukhari, UNHCR acting regional representative, during the annual Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge last Friday.

The money was donated by the Cartier Love Charity campaign. Princess Haya, who is patron of the campaign, chose UNHCR to be this year's recipient for the second consecutive year.

Bukhari offered thanks on behalf of UNHCR and praised Princess Haya for demonstrating "a solid commitment to promote education of refugee children worldwide." He said the Cartier donation would be used in Zambia to improve access to education; to encourage girls to complete a full education; and to boost sports facilities in schools.

Princess Haya, a UN Messenger of Peace and daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, is a major supporter of UNHCR's Women Leading for Livelihoods initiative. In the past, she has arranged donations for UNHCR projects that benefit refugee women and youth.

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Two million people are listed on Colombia's National Register for Displaced People. About half of them are under the age of 18, and, according to the Ministry of Education, only half of these are enrolled in school.

Even before displacement, Colombian children attending school in high-risk areas face danger from land mines, attacks by armed groups and forced recruitment outside of schools. Once displaced, children often lose an entire academic year. In addition, the trauma of losing one's home and witnessing extreme violence often remain unaddressed, affecting the child's potential to learn. Increased poverty brought on by displacement usually means that children must work to help support the family, making school impossible.

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UNHCR aims to help 25,000 refugee children go to school in Syria by providing financial assistance to families and donating school uniforms and supplies.

There are some 1.4 million Iraqi refugees living in Syria, most having fled the extreme sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in 2006.

Many Iraqi refugee parents regard education as a top priority, equal in importance to security. While in Iraq, violence and displacement made it difficult for refugee children to attend school with any regularity and many fell behind. Although education is free in Syria, fees associated with uniforms, supplies and transportation make attending school impossible. And far too many refugee children have to work to support their families instead of attending school.

To encourage poor Iraqi families to register their children, UNHCR plans to provide financial assistance to at least 25,000 school-age children, and to provide uniforms, books and school supplies to Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR. The agency will also advise refugees of their right to send their children to school, and will support NGO programmes for working children.

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The ongoing violence in Sudan's western Darfur region has uprooted two million Sudanese inside the country and driven some 230,000 more over the border into 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad.

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