Education Above All Foundation to Donate Tents Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects to Displaced Populations

January 2, 2023



Rick Formalejo

The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar concluded in December with a historic win for Argentina after bagging the Championship title against France. One of the highlights of the prestigious event includes the beautiful stadiums where each game was held. During the course of the World Cup, a number of tents were also used to give shelter to the football fans supporting their respective teams. 

In an effort to not reduce waste after the big event, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has designed 27 tents to serve and support refugee and displaced communities in Syria, Turkey, and Yemen in partnership with the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation. The tents will be donated to the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and Qatar Red Crescent as part of the country’s efforts to ensure the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will have a lasting impact.

Hundreds of displaced Pakistani and Syrian children are already using three of these tents as schools in Pakistan and Turkey, respectively. Moreover, 15 tents will be given to the IOM. Ten of these will serve as schools and five will be used as health clinics in Turkey and Yemen. Qatar Red Crescent in Syria, meanwhile, will receive 12 structures that will serve as shelters for displaced communities in the country. 

The tents are carefully designed to reduce the impact on the environment. The ZHA-EAA tents allow for natural daylight and are weather-proof, modular structures that can be easily moved and reassembled. The architects also incorporated components that can be upcycled, making the tents ideal for displaced populations. 

“We have a like-minded partner in Education Above All who is committed to investing in innovative design for the better good of disadvantaged and vulnerable communities. Together, we developed a robust, cost-effective, and lightweight modular architectural system with a fabric envelope to build structures that can be adapted in many variations to meet the conditions and lives of displaced children and children on the move. We hope that these newly donated tents will bring safety, learning, and play to thousands in Yemen, Syria, and Turkey,” shares Zaha Hadid Architects’ Project Architect Gerry Cruz.

Data show over 70 million people are displaced in their own countries or living as refugees, EAA saw a critical need for suitable infrastructure that could serve as classrooms, temporary housing, and medical centers. This is why the foundation teamed up with ZHA to create a structure that offers safe, versatile, and sustainable spaces for children to use for play, learning, and development. 

“Each and every one of us has a role to play to ensure that we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. At EAA, we are committed to doing our part to achieving SDG 4, and by donating these tents, we are acting now to help countless children in Yemen, Turkey, and Syria to have access to quality and accessible education,” says EAA CEO, Fahad Al Sulaiti.

Lastly, EAA Chairperson, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, spoke of the potential of such an initiative. According to her, although placing a tent in a displaced community might seem like a small thing, “every one of the UN goals is interconnected: health, education, eradicating poverty… They are all part of ensuring a sustainable planet.”

Photos Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

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