|Date: 28/04/2012 Time: 10:13:00 AM
The Islamic Heritage Society held a charitable
bazaar, proceeds of which would be devoted for aiding Syrian refugees in
countries neighboring their crisis-stricken nation.
The philanthropic event, organized by the society, headed by Mrs. Suad
Al-Otaibi, spouse of the permanent Kuwaiti delegate at the UN, Mansour Ayyad
Al-Otaibi, at the headquarters of the Kuwaiti mission late on Friday, was
attended by many UN officials, namely Udo Janz, Director of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees Office in New York (UNHCR), ambassador of Arab,
Islamic and Foreign states.
Wives of the diplomats contributed with traditional food and handicrafts.
In remarks to KUNA and Kuwait Television, Al-Otaibi said she opted to
allocate sums of this annual gathering for the Syrian refugees, considering
enormity of their plight. Al-Otaibi added that she received donations and
checks from many donors, noting that she could not grant more two stands for
each continent considering lack of sufficient space.
She expressed hope to receive more donations, but stopped short of
revealing how much she has received so far. However, some organizers disclosed
that the total sum amounted to USD 40,000.
Al-Otaibi expressed gratitude to the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry for its
financial support and Kuwait Airways for granting two tickets for those who
helped in organizing the bazaar.
For his part, the ambassador, Mansour Al-Otaibi, expressed satisfaction at
success of the bazaar, noting high turn-up of donors.
The society was founded in 1972, with the aim of promoting Islamic
civilization. Some of its members represent Islamic and non-Islamic countries.
Meanwhile, Janz thanked Mrs Al-Otaibi for this "extraordinary" bazaar. "I
am truly impressed," he told the gathering.
He thanked the participants "profoundly for their extraordinary support"
for the Syrian refugees in the region, noting that the situation in Syria is
still unfolding and that the number of the Syrian refugees in the region has
"We need your support and we need the support of all governments in the
region and beyond," he urged.
He recalled that the UNHCR launched an appeal for a Syrian Refugee Response
Plan in Geneva last month, in which the agency requested USD 84.5 million from
the international community in support of the outpouring refugees in Syria.
Only 19 percent of that appeal has so far been committed and funded, he
He said "your contribution here today, I am absolutely convinced, will be
even more appreciated."
He also announced that one UNHCR employee, Talal Hamza, was killed last
night in Damascus on his way home.
He later told KUNA and Kuwait TV "I am extremely pleased and positively
surprised about this outpouring of solidarity today."
He admitted that he had "no idea what to expect. I thought it was a small
bazaar, but I can see everybody is fantastically involved and engaged."
He also said he had "no idea" how much money will be collected at the end
of the day. "Frankly, it does not really matter to me what the amount is. What
I see today is far more important in terms of the actual solidarity that
people are expressing" with the Syrian refugees.
He indicated that the money will go into the Syrian Refugee Response Plan
which received only 19 percent of the money required. "That gives you an
indication that we have a long way to go, especially that the number of the
refugees keeps increasing by the day," he said.
He recalled that the Kuwaiti government has voluntarily contributed earlier
this month an extra one million dollars, which "we really take with deep
gratitude and we will make the best use of it in the region wherever the
Syrian refugees are."
He said the refugees' needs "will have to be met in order to maintain an
open-door policy, so that governments in the region continue to host refugees
as and when they seek protection, and for me that is the most important aspect
at this stage."
He noted that with the spotlight of the international attention currently
on the region, "I am confident that we will meet the benchmarks that we have
set for our response there and that we can respond as quickly, as effectively
and efficiently as possible."
The Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia Teuta Arifi said she
was "delighted" to participate in the event which shows that the Syrian
refugees are "not alone and have the support of brothers and sisters
everywhere. I am also delighted that my country is participating" with food