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Abraaj Capital donates $10m to Gaza education trust fund
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 16 - 05 - 2009

Dubai-based private equity group Abraaj Capital is donating $ 10 million to a trust fund it is setting up to help educate more than 1,200 Palestinian children and youth who lost parents during violence in Gaza in December and January.
The Welfare Association, a 26-year-old Palestinian non-profit development foundation, will manage disbursements from the fund over its 22-year life.
King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, were set to witness on Friday the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Abraaj and the Welfare Association at the World Economic Forum meeting on the Middle East at the Dead Sea.
“This initiative by Abraaj, a strategic partner of the World Economic Forum, is corporate global citizenship in action. We believe such public-private partnerships are key to driving development and addressing key societal challenges,” said Schwab.
“Abraaj is committed to driving sustainable, positive change in the communities in which we operate by investing in them for their wider long-term welfare,” said Arif Naqvi, founder and chief executive officer of Abraaj, the largest private equity firm in the region.
“After the tragic events in December and January, we are now focusing all this year's philanthropic resources on ensuring education for the children in Gaza whose future would otherwise be in question,” Naqvi said.
Abraaj and the Welfare Association, which is better known in Palestine by its Arabic name, Ta'awoun, have identified 1,257 children and youth aged from infancy to 22, who either lost a remaining parent or the primary income-earner in the 23-day conflict. Most of the orphans now live with extended family and 120 in orphanages in Gaza.
“We are very pleased that Abraaj has taken this strong interest in returning humanity to the lives of Gaza children and to have chosen us to manage implementation of this substantial fund,” said Nabil Qaddumi, Chairman of the Welfare Association. “This money will go a long way to helping these children learn and equip themselves for a better life.”
The Welfare Association has estimated that the effort to educate, house and provide other benefits to the orphans will cost about $14 million over the 22 years. Abraaj's contribution will seed that effort.
Long-standing organizations that work closely with Palestinians in Gaza will help the Welfare Association assess the educational needs of the children and youth, including for vocational training, as well as other needs that would help them benefit fully from the fund.

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