4 April 2017, Azraq Refugee Camp, Jordan
Philanthropist Tahir ended his visit to Jordan by providing a total of US$2.2 million for the welfare of Syrian refugees being sheltered in the Hashemite kingdom. Tahir provided $1 million in the form of allowances of $80 per family per month as well as providing $1.2 million to install solar panels at schools educating Syrian children.
On Monday, Tahir also set aside an education trust fund of $200.000 for the education of five Syrian children talking refuge at Azraq refugee camp in Zarqa province, east of Amman. “I want your childarn have a good education in Western countries so thay can have a better life,” Tahir told the family of Abu Muhammad and wife Umm Muhammad when he reunited with them on Monday following his first visit in October. “Since I returned to Jakarta, your family has always been on my mine.”
Tahir also told the family of his intention to adopt one child and provide $200.000 for education purpose. “But UNHCR adviced me to allocated the funds for all five children instead of only one,” the Eminent Advocate for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) told the family.“ How are we doing to set up the technicalities on using the funds?” Tahir asked the UNHCR staffers accompanying him.
“We will set up a special account, some kind of trush fund to manage your funding for their education,” said Reem Abdelhamid of the UNHCR. “The funding will only be disbusted when a child is about to enter university and cannot be used for other purposes.” For security reasons, UNHCR has not released the real name of Abu Muhammad, which translates as “Muhammad’s father.” Ages 5 years old, Muhammad is the fourth child and the only son. His sisters are Amani (11), Manal (9), Malak (7), and Syam (4). Abu Muhammad (37), worked as a car body painter in a workshop in Syrian before fleeing to Azraq in 2014. Tahir ended up adopting all five children of Abu Muhammad as his grandchildren, which he announced at the refugee camp’s community center during a simple party to celebrate his 65th birthday. Children at the camp performed a play and a taekwondo demonstration to welcome Tahir. The children also invite Tahir to take part in a penalty shootout.
Earlier on Sunday, Tahir commited $1.2 million to install photovoltaic solar panels at schools for Syrian children taking refuge in camps managed by the UNHCR in Jordan. The commitment was announced when the Mayapada Group owner visited the Rufaidah Al Islamiyah school for girls in Irbid, North of Amman. The school already has a solar panel system on its rooftop in stalled by Norway. “The Installationcost for each school is $60.000 and they are sustainable and profitable for the school,” said Tahir, the fifth-richest man in Indonesia worth some $2.8 billion, when he inspectedthe solar panels.
“Not only can the school get electricity, it can also sell the surplus electicity to the Jordanian government and earn some $12.000 per year.” The school operates in two shifts. The morning shift is for Jordanian pupils while the afternoon shift is Syrian children. “The Jordanian government allows the school to be used to educate Syrian children,” said Erdogan Kalkan, head of the UNHCR’s Irbid field office. He said some Syrian refugees in Irbid did not live in camps but rented houses in the local neighborhoods. After visiting the school, Tahir visited a Syrian refugee family of six children.