Egypt

Sawiris Foundation partners with UNHCR to support vulnerable refugees amidst COVID-19

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On the occasion of World Refugee Day, celebrated every year on 20 June, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, partners with the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (SFSD) to support distressed refugee families in Egypt amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The generous contribution from Sawiris Foundation will support 2,673 refugee households identified by UNHCR as highly vulnerable as a result of COVID-19. The partnership, launched this month and running through November 2020, secures monthly cash grants to refugees currently in dire need of support to make ends meet, having lost their livelihood due to the pandemic and have either been or are at risk of being evicted.

This is the first partnership between UNHCR and Sawiris Foundation, who normally fund economic empowerment and educational programs for the most marginalized Egyptians.

“Sawiris Foundation has been actively empowering the most disenfranchised Egyptians for 19 years since its founding, through access to top notch education and job opportunities. We have been quick to respond during the COVID outbreak to support families most impacted in these difficult times. Our Board recognizes the importance of including refugees in Egypt in our plans as they are certainly amongst the most vulnerable populations. We are certain that through this collaboration we can give some hope and needed assistance to these families,” said Eng. Samih Sawiris, SFSD Founding Member and member of its board of trustees.

“UNHCR’s multi-purpose cash assistance programme is a means of protection and livelihood support to refugees and asylum-seekers unable to meet their basic needs such as rent, hygiene, health, education, food and other household expenses. We are very grateful for the generosity of Sawiris Foundation and greatly appreciate that together we can provide lifeline support to these families, who otherwise may not be able to cope with their destitute situation,” said Karim Atassi, UNHCR Egypt Representative.

Sawiris Foundation’s donation comes in response to an appeal for USD 10.2 million UNHCR Egypt has made to address the impact of COVID-19. With additional funding, UNHCR would be able to expand its cash programme to reach more refugees in need, support refugee access to primary and secondary healthcare, expand access of refugee children to distance learning and ensure protection services for marginalized groups are maintained.

While the wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers remains at the center of its prevention and response efforts, UNHCR also stands in solidarity with the Egyptian people and continues to coordinate with and support the ongoing efforts of the Egyptian Government to curb the spread of COVID-19.

About UNHCR Egypt

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.

UNHCR has been working in Egypt since 1954 after the Government of Egypt and UNHCR signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Within the framework of this MOU, UNHCR provides protection services including registration, documentation, refugee status determination and resettlement to persons of concern. For more than six decades, the office provided assistance to stateless individuals from Armenian and European origins, followed by large influxes of African, Iraqi and Syrian refugees in subsequent decades.