Home » SIARA draws participation from 527 organisations from 53 countries

SIARA draws participation from 527 organisations from 53 countries

by Madaline Dunn

The Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA), now in its eighth edition, has received 527 applications from 53 countries, it has announced.

This is up from 423 submissions from 41 countries in 2023, which itself saw a 135 per cent increase compared to 2022. 

The SIARA shared that its aim is to change the popular perception of refugees and displaced peoples from “faceless statistical representations” to “equally capable members of the community.”

SIARA acknowledges NGOs across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa whose efforts positively impact the lives of refugees, the forcibly displaced, and marginalised communities.

The award, it said, has also mainstreamed refugees’ needs to access cultural and creative avenues, quality education, skilled jobs, and more by highlighting projects and campaigns that extend beyond providing emergency aid to improve quality of life by dedicating their resources, skills, and capabilities for the good of others.

Organised annually by The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), SIARA is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.

Mariam Al Hammadi, Director General of TBHF, commented: “SIARA personifies the power of human passion for influencing positive change, and demonstrates the collective impact of compassion, empathy, creativity and innovation in transforming despair to hope. While celebrating those who are making a compelling impact in their communities, this award serves as a call to action, encouraging broader participation in humanitarian efforts worldwide, inspiring a collective commitment to building a more inclusive and compassionate global society.”

The 2024 edition includes: 

  • 331 nominations from Africa, 
  • 163 from Asia, 
  • 13 from Europe, 
  • 17 from North America, and 
  • 3 from Oceania. 

Notable submissions came from countries such as Nigeria (69), Uganda (66), Ethiopia (44), Pakistan (41), Kenya (41), Lebanon (29), and Palestine (17), among others. 

Other countries from which nominations were received include UAE, USA, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Cameroon and UK.

The cash prize pool for the awards of AED 500,000 (US$136,000) remains a special contribution by TBHF and does not represent any share of the donations made to the foundation, it noted.

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