Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has paid 100,000 pounds Sterling (AED440,000) for the personal overcoat of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.
The purchase follows Her Highness’s donation of the coat to the ‘Jeans for Refugees’ (JFR) charity initiative dedicated to refugees worldwide. The garment was sold at an auction that followed the JFR exhibition, which took place at the Saatchi Gallery in London, from October 24–30.
JFR was launched by Johnny Dar, an internationally-acclaimed fashion designer and artist as a global artistic collaboration dedicated to helping refugees around the world. The essence of the initiative was to empower people to collaborate for a common goal and to create a brighter world through the involvement of popular celebrities from the worlds of cinema, art, fashion and music. The activity received an impressive response from officials, celebrities and media across the world.
SCCI secured the coat amid heated competition between a number of organisations, businessmen and supporters of refugee and women's rights, all of whom bid significant amounts in order to provide funds for refugees. Sheikha Jawaher’s coat, which she wore during her visit to Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan in 2014, raised the highest sum of money for a single item at the auction, which also saw bids for the 100 pairs of jeans donated by world celebrities in support of the initiative.
The JFR auction was attended by Raghda Taryam, Board member of SCCI; representatives from NAMA Women Advancement Establishment; renowned global designer Johnny Dar, founder of the JFR initiative; Emma Bolton, Head of Fundraising at the International Rescue Committee; artists and members of the general public concerned about humanitarian issues. All proceeds from the auctioned garments will go to the International Rescue Committee in support of the National Emergency Response Programme and Women's Development programmes.
"Conflict and strife across the world has encouraged people to launch humanitarian initiatives that support communities affected by them and help them overcome the obstacles and challenges that threaten their lives, such as forced displacement. One global humanitarian initiative is Jeans for Refugees, whose organisers have sought to rally support for displaced persons through art. We highly appreciate and support this initiative, which will have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of refugees in different parts of the world," said Sheikha Jawaher.
Sheikha Jawaher thanked SCCI for its humanitarian gesture of donating money by purchasing her coat in aid of refugees, as well as its major contribution in making the auction a success. She said the proceeds from the auction will help support the International Rescue Committee's endevours to improve the lives and preserve the dignity of thousands of young girls and women living in refugee camps.
Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of SCCI, said: "Our participation in this auction stemmed from our belief in the just cause of refugees worldwide. It was in line with our desire to alleviate the suffering of displaced people and improving their living conditions in the host country refugee camps until the issue is resolved."
Al Owais praised the immense efforts undertaken by Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi to advocate and mobilise international support for refugees, as well as the launch of many initiatives and programmes through the Sharjah-based The Big Heart Foundation, of which she is the Chairperson and which has succeeded in making a significant difference to the lives of millions of refugees around the world.
During his speech at the JFR exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, Johnny Dar said: "This humanitarian initiative would not have achieved its success without the great support of HH Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi and NAMA. Refugees are in need of people who share with Sheikha Jawaher the same humanitarian vision and noble values she has always espoused and which she has always been committed to."
Dar praised the immense efforts made by the late Ameera BinKaram, who supported the JFR initiative since its launch, noting that she was eager to assist in realising its goals. A short documentary about BinKaram was shown during the exhibition in memory of her incredible contribution in women's empowerment and supporting humanitarian issues.