How this Abu Dhabi-based gala aims to educate refugee children in Jordan

The inaugural Dream Ball will raise funds for Unicef during a star-studded night in the UAE capital

Young Syrian refugees sit at a UNICEF-run school in the al-Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq near the border with Syria, on October 4, 2012. The school is a grant from the European Union to provide education to Syrian refugees residing in Jordan.  AFP PHOTO/KHALIL MAZRAAWI        (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/GettyImages)

An estimated 84 per cent of the 730,000 refugees living in Jordan are children, with the most vulnerable at risk of receiving a limited education. It is that generation that a new UAE-based initiative hopes to help, with an inaugural gala evening raising funds for those affected.

The Abu Dhabi Dream Ball, which will be held in the capital on January 31, will bring together hundreds of guests in support of Unicef. Hosted at Emirates Palace, stars of the screen, dignitaries, royals and more will congregate for the charitable evening, which hopes to educate 5,000 refugee children in Jordan with proceeds raised on the night.

The ball is held under the patronage of Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development, devised by Abu Dhabi-based non-profit Sawtouna and hosted by Harper's Bazaar Arabia.

Guests will be treated to a gala dinner as well as several live performances, with Lebanese-Armenian musician Guy Manoukian, Scottish-Egyptian classical duo The Ayoub Sisters and nine-year-old Arabs Got Talent-winning singer Emanne Beasha set to take to the stage.

Seats cost from Dhs2,500, while tables of 10 cost from Dh25,000, with options for a VVIP experiences. Tickets can be purchased at 800 Tickets.

“The UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan imagined a society where knowledge and education are both encouraged and truly valued,” said Al Kaabi. “I am delighted to support fundraising initiatives that align with his vision to help provide education opportunities and support to children and youth in conflict-affected countries.”

According to Unicef, social services in Jordan are stretched to capacity in the wake of the global refugee crisis. In particular, child labour presents a concern in the country, and results in a low percentage of school-aged children receiving an inadequate education.

“With every passing day, more and more children fear their future and we have to act now not to lose an entire generation of children with all the consequences we know,” said Eltayeb Adam, Unicef representative in the Gulf.

Money raised on the night will go towards Unicef's No Lost Generation, a programme that aims to benefit Syrian and Iraqi refugee children. The initiative brings together humanitarian groups, donors and policymakers to provide quality education and protection services to those affected by war.

Ticket sales will help raise funds, as will an auction featuring prizes such as original artwork by French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed. Guests slated to attend include Egyptian actress and Unicef ambassador Mona Zaki, with Lebanese TV presenter Raya Abirached and Harper's Bazaar contributing editor Rosemin Madhavji co-hosting the evening.


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