7Hills for Social Development recognized for humanitarian work

Mohammed Zakaria, Director at 7 Hills Skatepark

7Hills for Social Development, a Jordan-based non-profit, has been awarded the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA) 2022, organized by The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a UAE-based humanitarian firm dedicated to helping refugees.

Why did the efforts 7Hills stand out?

The sixth edition of the Award, valued at AED 500,000, has recognized the strategy of the non-profit in launching youth empowerment programmes and transforming an abandoned area into an equipped 650 sqm skatepark which is creating an inclusive environment and creating a new future for refugees and their host communities in Amman, Jordan.

Through a dedicated space for skateboarding, the organization provides a creative and inspiring outlet for children and youth to learn new skills and build confidence. Targeting all age groups, the skateboarding programme benefited more than 2,000 young men and women in 2020-21, 45% of whom are females and 60% are refugees and displaced persons.

Established by a group of young people led by Mohammed Zakaria, a skateboarder and a photographer, the community approach adopted by the Amman-based entity and Al Raseef 153, the social enterprise arm of 7Hills, also empowers over 250 youth – of which 50 per cent are refugees – through training and capacity-building in leadership and vocational skills.

When will the awards be held?

7Hills for Social Development was selected from among the 177 nominations received from 39 countries across the globe for the sixth edition of SIARA. The award ceremony of SIARA 2022 will be held on Monday, June 27, at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah.

Launched in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the award is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chair of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.