Transforming lives through education – The Varkey GEMS Foundation supports UNICEF’s Schools for Asia Initiative

27 February 2014

تحميل الخبر باللغة العربية

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, 27 February 2014 – The Varkey GEMS Foundation is partnering with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support the Schools for Asia Initiative throughout 2014. Through fundraising and awareness activities for the initiative, 23 of the GEMS schools will be able to help improve the education, health and well-being of the most vulnerable children in Asia.

The Varkey GEMS Foundation has made a commitment to the UNICEF Schools for Asia Initiative by setting up an initial ‘Kick-start’ fund to support the participating GEMS schools in their fundraising for the initiative. The Varkey GEMS Foundation will match donations raised by the 23 schools for their first event from February 9 – March 23, 2014 to the maximum value of USD$5,000 per school. 

The Chief Executive of the Varkey GEMS Foundation, Vikas Pota, said: “Our partnership will seek to build on the fine work of UNICEF by harnessing the largesse of GEMS students and families and the experience of GEMS educators to deliver better education and conditions to underprivileged children. The Varkey GEMS Foundation believes quality education is a right that should be available to all, no matter where they live or their income and capabilities. This initiative is an extension of that drive.” 

Schools for Asia is a UNICEF initiative that aims to provide access to basic education to millions of children in countries in Asia. Across the region, those denied their right to a basic education remain the same – children of poor or of ethnic minority families, children with disabilities, children of low castes, children living in remote areas and children affected by emergencies. 

Asian nations are endeavoring to provide quality, relevant education for all children, including those hardest to reach. Nonetheless, millions of children in Schools for Asia focus countries are not yet able to exercise their right to education. 

The representative of the UNICEF Gulf Area Office, Dr. Ibrahim El. Ziq, said, “UNICEF is committed to the protection of children's rights, which includes ensuring that every child – regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability or socio-economic status - has access to quality education. We are delighted that the Varkey GEMS Foundation has partnered with UNICEF's Schools for Asia Initiative. This partnership provides a platform to not only raise further awareness of the Schools for Asia Initiative amongst students, parents and teachers but also gives them the opportunity to contribute to ensuring millions of children in Asia have a quality education and a better future.”

The UNICEF Schools for Asia (SfAsia) Initiative builds on the success of Schools for Africa and aims to give children the best start in life. This is accomplished through sound teaching and learning materials, safe and clean school facilities, well-designed curricula that include life skills education on health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation and HIV prevention, and trained teachers that provide empowering education and create environments where girls and boys are treated equally and are able to be the best that they can. 


For enquiries please contact:

Rana Awad, Manager – Varkey GEMS Foundation,

Tania Wakim, Fundraising and Partnerships – UNICEF Gulf Area Office,

Media contacts

Juliette Touma
Regional Chief of Advocacy and Communications
UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office
Tel: 00962798674628


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit

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About the Varkey GEMS Foundation

The Varkey GEMS Foundation is the philanthropic arm of GEMS Education which has a global network of award-winning schools providing high quality education. We are a not-for-profit organization, established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children around the world. Through our expertise, networks, resources and partners, we ensure that our projects deliver quality education where it is needed most. We run a number of projects in three key areas: providing access to education, improving global teacher capacity and advocacy.

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