‘Peace Starts Here’ school bus begins journey around Spain

19 May 2011

19 May 2011    
Madrid

Mobile school bus outside Palacio De Comunicaciones, Madrid 

Members of the public in Madrid this week were surprised to see a strange-looking bus on the city’s streets. Specially adapted to work as a mobile classroom and emblazoned with the message ‘Peace Starts With Education’, the bus will travel around the country’s provinces, aiming to raise awareness about the situation of Palestine refugees.

In the mobile classroom, students and members of the public will be treated to a series of special workshops, focusing on the situation of Palestinian refugees as a case study for human rights and tools for coexistence.

UNRWA’s Spanish Committee hopes that the bus and its resources will provide the Spanish public with a glimpse into the lives of Palestinian refugees, and encourage the universal fulfilment of human rights.

Peace Starts With Education

The bus activity is part of a wider educational project, ‘Solidarity in the classroom’, carried out since 2008 by UNRWA’s Spanish Committee in partnership with the Spanish Agency of Cooperation for Development (AECID). The project encourages children and young people to compare different realities, emphasising human rights, respect and coexistence both inside and outside the Spanish classroom.

The programme works with students and teachers to encourage the use of different ways to focus on human rights in the classroom. ‘Peace Starts With Education’, with its special focus on human rights and Palestine refugees, forms part of that project.

The mobile school bus will travel throughout the municipalities of Spain from 3 to 24 May. In each locality, secondary school students will visit the mobile classroom in the mornings; in the afternoons, the bus will be open to the general public.

UNRWA Spanish Committee

UNRWA’s Spanish Committee is the first national committee created by UNRWA. Established in 2005, its objective is to inform the Spanish population about the living situation of 4.8 million Palestinian refugees and UNRWA’s humanitarian work with them over the past 60 years.

The Committee raises both public and private funds to support UNRWA in maintaining the quality of services provided to Palestinian refugees.

Cadena de Ayuda Humanitaria

UNRWA’s Spanish Committee started the Spanish-language campaign Cadena de Ayuda (Chain of Humanitarian Aid) in response to the humanitarian situation faced by refugee children in Gaza. The fundraising campaign is based on the construction of a virtual human chain of humanitarian aid.

Cadena de Ayuda will help thousands of children in Gaza Strip improve their health, education and nutrition. In addition, this campaign helps inform Spanish society about the insecurity and lack of rights of refugee children living in the Gaza Strip.

Visit Cadena de Ayuda Humanitaria

Visit the Spanish Committee’s website

For more information on UNRWA’s Spanish Committee, contact:
Cristina Poveda
Tel: +91 702 70 59 / 625 21 78 74
Email: prensa@unrwace.org

Background Information

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

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 68 million.

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