On 9 June, the Damascus Training Centre (DTC) of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) seemed to provide a look into a brighter future for young people in conflict-torn Syria. An exhibition displayed amazing ideas and designs, such as a green house and a car park that were both automated, along with a model of a digital office-management system using SharePoint technology.
The minds behind these ideas were the around 40 young Palestine refugees who were taking their final exams in the mechatronics, electronics and computer technology courses at DTC. In two years at the centre, they gained knowledge and practical skills much needed in the local labour market. One of the graduates, receiving his diploma, called it a passport for the future prospects of young people in Syria, and thanked UNRWA for providing quality training for young Palestine refugees, with the support of the European Union.
Such training programmes are particularly important now, as the conflict in Syria enters its fourth year. It has had a devastating impact on the Palestine refugee community, displacing thousands and destroying homes, livelihoods and families. For young people, new obstacles have arisen that threaten their access to education and opportunities, putting not just their present but also their future in danger.
“We admire and commend you for finding the strength to defy the challenges of your difficult circumstances”, Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, said to the graduates. “With your spirit of fortitude, your thirst for knowledge, and the skills you have acquired at UNRWA’s DTC, you have a solid foundation for success and fulfilment in the future.”
The Chief of the UNRWA vocational training programme in Syria, Fouzi Al Madfa'a, added: “The experience you gained at the Centre will help sharpen your skills and prepare you to succeed in the future.” The graduates now have an opportunity to contribute to the companies they will work with and to the community at large, helping shelter its hopes for the future.