The Golden Heart Awards, founded and run by the Heart for Children in 1978, are a way in which people who have been particularly active and effective in advocating for homeless, dispossessed and disenfranchised children across the globe can be suitably honoured for their efforts. Based in Berlin, the 16th such gala chose to honour Her Majesty the Queen of Jordan for her efforts to support education for millions of homeless children worldwide, with a natural focus on those affected by recent turmoil in the Middle East. In recent years, she has been especially vocal about the plight of those afflicted by civil unrest, poverty and political corruption, warning that millions of young lives are at risk and that many have chosen to turn a blind eye to it.
Given the events taking place right next door to her native Jordan, it should come as no surprise that this is a cause that holds a particularly close place to her heart.
Upon receiving her award from the German First Lady, Ms Daniela Schadt, Queen Rania gave a speech about her concern for the millions of children who suffer unseen around the globe, with many at risk of losing their lives and futures “as though they’re not even here”. In a time of unprecedented prosperity, peace and progress, she asked the audience how it’s possible then that there are still children in Syria having to escape barrel bombs or Yemeni children who are now starving because of the poverty caused by civil war. In addition to food and shelter, she stressed, it was also essential that these children receive basic rights and necessities, especially education.
Queen Rania impressed that those children who suffer today will one day be the generation that rebuilds their shattered nations once the wars and troubles were over, highlighting the need for them to given the opportunity to build better, safer futures for themselves and the generations that follow them.
Recalling her conversations with such children in the past, Her Majesty noted that she seldom heard words of despair, but rather hopes, dreams and ambitions.
“I heard about plans and dreams to study, to play, to become doctors, teachers or humanitarians,” she remarked. “Let us say to children everywhere: we see you. And tomorrow, and all the tomorrows that follow, let us work tirelessly to open our hearts and keep their hope alive.”