Video Message to the Children of Gaza on the Occasion of the UNRWA Summer Games

18 July 2010

On 22 July, thousands of children in Gaza, as part of the UNRWA Summer Games, will come together to break the number of basketballs bounced simultaneously. The UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, sent them this message of support.

New York, 13 July 2010

As-salamu alaykum!

I am Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

I want to congratulate the children of Gaza for taking part in this great event.

You are showing the world that if you are given the opportunity…you can be number one!

Last year, you broke the record for kite flying.

We were all so inspired to see thousands of you… the next generation in Gaza… flying kites you made… and reaching for the sky.

What a message to the world.

Now, show us what you can do with thousands of basketballs! I’ll join in from New York.

[Bounces ball.]

I thank the United Nations staff in Gaza for organising the Summer Games… and for helping the children of Gaza show that they can bounce back from any adversity and be the best in the world.

I wish you all good luck… Go for it, Gaza!

[Throws ball as if towards basket.]

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

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