1 April 2012
Recognising the contributions of social workers who provide services to Palestine refugees, UNRWA celebrated Social Work Day on 26 March throughout the Gaza Strip. Inside and outside the refugee camps, the Agency’s social workers are at the front line of identifying the needs of vulnerable refugees and connecting them to UNRWA’s programmes.
“We are here today to celebrate the efforts of others in making human rights real”, UNRWA’s Christer Nordahl told more than 300 social workers gathered at the Khan Younis Training Centre. “What is crystal clear is that in the Gaza Strip and throughout the world, human rights are made real by individuals and professionals such as you.”
Still suffering under severe restrictions on the movement of goods, materials, and people, living conditions in the blockaded territory have deteriorated over the years. Unemployment has skyrocketed to one of the highest rates in the world, and the resulting social problems include poverty, overcrowding, and violence inside homes and refugee camps.
“The Gaza Strip has borne mute witness to far too much poverty, oppression, hopelessness, and despair”, Nordahl continued. “But through all this, and in spite of the immensity of the challenges at hand, UNRWA social workers have continued to provide the helping hand and guiding light desperately needed by many of the most vulnerable refugees in the Gaza Strip.”
Attended by social workers from across the Agency, the celebration also honoured those who had earned their degree in the field at least 25 years ago.
Speaking on behalf of the relief and social services programme, Hussam Manna praised the Agency’s social workers for changing the lives of refugees in Gaza: “UNRWA’s social workers not only improve the living standards of individuals and families; they are helping them to escape poverty.”
Social Work Day has been celebrated by the United Nations for 29 years to acknowledge the contributions of social workers in creating better living conditions for refugees and other vulnerable people around the world.
Read more about UNRWA’s relief and social services programme.