Doha, 21, June 2021: Education Above All (EAA) Foundation’s Al Fakhoora programme and its implementing partner, SPARK, an international NGO specialised in job creation for youth in fragile states, yesterday celebrated a milestone achievement of awarding 10,000 scholarships to Syrian refugees, internally displaced and vulnerable host community youth. This accomplishment illustrates EAA and SPARK’s joint commitment to supporting the right to education for marginalised youth across the globe and the crucial role that higher education specifically plays in conflict-affected regions.
In a pre-recorded virtual event, Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and member of the Netherlands Committee for Enterprise, had a conversation with two Syrian students about their education and entrepreneurial ambitions. One of the students, Kubar Msho, 19, who now lives in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, recently received the 10,000th scholarship from the European Union. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of EAA and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, also spoke with three Syrian students supported by EAA in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey and highlighted the importance of the 10,000th scholarship award as part of a fruitful partnership between EAA and SPARK.
Speaking to the scholarship recipients on this auspicious occasion, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, said: “Congratulations to all of you who have managed to achieve your dreams, despite your difficult circumstances and the added hurdle of the pandemic. Your unwavering ambition is an inspiration to all of us.”
“We will continue to connect quality education with meaningful employment through Education Above All and our economic empowerment foundation, Silatech. I do not want this conversation to end; rather it must be a renewed beginning. These 10,000 scholarships should serve as a road map to follow, to grant new hopes, new opportunities, and new lives to tens of thousands of other displaced youth.”
EAA’s Al Fakhoora programme, through Qatar Scholarship, partnered with the Dutch NGO SPARK in 2016 in to provide over 7,000 higher education and economic empowerment scholarships to Syrian youth, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable youth.
Today’s virtual event also featured high-level video contributions from His Excellency Dr. Bandar M. H. Hajjar, President and Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank, His Excellency Mr. Khalifa Al-Kuwari, Director General of the Qatar Fund for Development, His Excellency Mr. Bader M. Alsaad, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, His Excellency Jamal Abdul Khaliq Al-Nouri, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sheikh Abdullah Al-Nouri Charitable Society, Mrs. Kitty van der Heijden, Director General International Cooperation, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mrs. Claudia Miller, Trust Fund Manager, EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, European Commission. The financial contribution from all these organisations makes SPARK one of the largest scholarship providers for Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
Through their partnership, EAA and SPARK will continue to empower youth, promoting equitable access to quality higher education as a fundamental right and a tool for reducing poverty, generating economic growth, and creating peaceful and just societies.