Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: 7Hills for Social Development, a Jordan-based non-profit, has been awarded the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA) 2022, organized annually by The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a UAE-based global humanitarian organization dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide.
The sixth edition of the Award, valued at AED 500,000, has recognized the innovative strategy of the non-profit in launching creative youth empowerment programmes and transforming an abandoned area into a fully equipped 650 sqm skatepark which is today creating a stimulating and inclusive environment and creating an integrated new future for refugees and their host communities in Amman, Jordan.
Through a dedicated space for skateboarding, the organization provides a creative and inspiring outlet for children and youth to learn new skills and build confidence. Targeting all age groups, the skateboarding programme benefited more than 2,000 young men and women in 2020-21, 45% of whom are females and 60% are refugees and displaced persons.
Established by a group of young people led by Mohammed Zakaria, a skateboarder and a photographer, the community approach adopted by the Amman-based entity and Al Raseef 153, the social enterprise arm of 7Hills, also annually empowers more than 250 youth – of which 50 per cent are refugees – through training and capacity-building in leadership and vocational skills.
7Hills for Social Development was selected from among the 177 nominations received from 39 countries worldwide for the sixth edition of SIARA. The award ceremony of SIARA 2022 will be held on Monday, June 27, at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah.
Launched in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the award is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.