The Sawiris Foundation and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in partnership with El-Gouna Film Festival (GFF) 2020, and under the slogan of "Cinema for Humanity”, organised 25 October a panel discussion and high-level networking event to celebrate their 2020 collaboration and confirm their 2021-22 commitment to support marginalised refugee children in Egypt.
The networking reception, which took place at the Festival Plaza, was attended by Yousriya Loza-Sawiris, founder and chair of the board of the Sawiris Foundation, Naguib Sawiris, founder and vice-chairman of the board of the Sawiris Foundation, and chairman of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding, and Samih Sawiris, founder and board member of the Sawiris Foundation and chairman of Orascom Development Holding, in addition to celebrities and industry professionals.
During the reception, UNHCR Representative to Egypt and to the Arab League Karim Atassi, and Samih Sawiris, representing the Sawiris Foundation, signed a partnership agreement to support refugee children for the next two years.
“Being aware of the humanitarian crisis that touches tens of thousands of families in the region, it is our duty to support refugee and marginalised children in Egypt. They all deserve safety, proper healthcare and education, as basic needs that would help them have a better tomorrow. It is together with the UNHCR and its vast network that we can positively impact the lives of refugee children, creating hope, providing opportunities and improving prospects for their futures,” commented Sawiris.
(Photo courtesy of UNHCR)
This is the second agreement to be signed this year between UNHCR and the Sawiris Foundation, solidifying and furthering their commitment to support vulnerable refugees in Egypt. Earlier in 2020, the Sawiris Foundation made a generous contribution of EGP 15 million that supported more than 2,800 refugee households in Egypt, identified by UNHCR as highly vulnerable in the face of Covid-19.
“The UNHCR is grateful for the support the Sawiris Foundation provided at a critical time this year to support thousands of refugee families affected by the Covid-19 crisis. This is the beginning of a long-term partnership between UNHCR and the Sawiris Foundation and both of us are committed to continue to provide crucial assistance to the most vulnerable refugees in Egypt, especially to refugee children, in 2021 and 2022,” said Atassi.
The event was preceded by a panel discussion entitled “Children Matter: A Better Today for a Brighter Tomorrow” at the TUB Campus El-Gouna. Moderated by the famous TV presenter Raya Abirached, the panel featured a virtual talk with acclaimed Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki, and brought together Atassi, Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, assistant secretary general and head of the social affairs sector of the Arab League, Sawiris Foundation executive director Noura Selim, and Syrian actress and UNHCR High Profile Supporter Kinda Alloush.
The panelists talked about the role of humanitarian organisations, policymakers, cultural elites and the film industry in raising awareness and helping to ensure that the plight of refugee children is well addressed.
Egypt is home to approximately 260,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers representing 57 nationalities. Some 40 percent of them are children aged under 18. The majority live in urban areas alongside host communities, where the UNHCR works with government authorities, local and international NGOs and foundations to provide and enhance access to protection services, healthcare and education.
(Photo courtesy of UNHCR)