Adopt a School in Gaza

30 March 2010

A new UNRWA scheme gives donors the chance to make a direct contribution to Palestine refugee children’s education by ‘adopting’ a school in Gaza.

Donors can finance a Gaza school for a set period, normally one year. The donations will help children and staff overcome the damage – both physical and mental – caused by years of isolation and deprivation.

The scheme will also address the destruction wrought during Israel’s attack on Gaza in December and January 2008-9.

Any government, institution, non-governmental organisation, individual or private sector organisation can adopt a school. The costs cover the school’s running costs, including textbooks and computers, teachers’ salaries and heating costs.

Frequently asked questions

1- What is “Adopt A School in Gaza”?

“Adopt A School in Gaza” is a scheme developed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to give donors the opportunity to make a direct contribution to helping Palestinian refugee schoolchildren with their education. In adopting a school the donor finances the operation of the school for a set period, normally one year. In the case of schools in Gaza the scheme aims at helping these schools to overcome the damage, physical and mental, caused by years of isolation and deprivation followed by the destruction wrought during Israel’s attack on Gaza in December to January 2008-9.

2- Who can adopt a school?

Any government, institution, NGO, individual or private sector organisation.

3- What does it cost?

The overall annual cost is approximately between $600,000 and $2 million, depending on the size of school. The average school serves several hundred pupils. The cost includes school furniture, uniforms, stationery, schoolbags, teachers’ salaries, textbooks, computers, building maintenance costs, generators, heating costs, safety equipment, cleaning, sport supplies, food parcels, evening and summer learning.

4- It is above our budget: can we adopt a school for less than a year?

In principle it is possible to adopt a school for any period of a month or above.

5- How do we adopt a school?

Once you express your interest in adopting a school, UNRWA will send you a full proposal with detailed description of the school, its specific needs and annual budget. If the proposal meets your approval, UNRWA and your organisation can enter into partnership and sign a contribution agreement.

6- Will our name be attached to the school?

It can be if the adoption is to last for a year or more.

7- How will anybody know we have adopted a school?

UNRWA will arrange publicity. A visibility plan can be agreed with your organisation before the project starts: possibilities include media coverage and issue of press releases, media events such as a field visit to the school, web articles with stories from the beneficiaries, commemorative banner with the name and logo of your organisation, video filming.

8- Can we set up links between the school we adopt and ourselves?

Yes. UNRWA encourages exchanges between Palestine refugee students and supporters abroad. Where computer labs are available, e-linkages between two schools can be made. Pupils will send Eid greetings with photos to benefactors.

9- Can we adopt a school somewhere other than Gaza?

Yes. Schools can be adopted in any of UNRWA’s areas of operations: West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan as well as Gaza.

10. - How do we get started?
Write to the following address:

Mr Marc Lassouaoui
External Relations and Projects Officer
UNRWA
PO Box 140157
Amman, 11814, Jordan

Ph: +962 (6) 5808 523
Mob: +962 (77) 676 0063
Fax: +962 (6) 5808 176
m.lassouaoui@unrwa.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$ 68.2 million.

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