Al Aqsa Fund joins UNRWA in Jerusalem education projects

24 January 2011

24 January 2011
Amman

The Al Aqsa Fund, through its administrators the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have signed an agreement worth US$ 4.9 million for two important education projects in the Jerusalem area: the construction of a new school and support for the development of vocational training. A delegation from the IDB, led by Mr El Mansour Feten, Director of Trust Funds Department, visited Jordan last week to sign the two agreements with Mr Peter Ford, Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General.

A new US$ 3.1 million school will be built in Shu’fat refugee camp in Jerusalem, to replace the present dilapidated school. The building will have spacious classrooms and specialised rooms, providing an environment more conducive to teaching and learning. The new school will accommodate 2,445 students and will provide jobs for more than 100 teachers.

In a second project worth US$ 1.7 million, the Al Aqsa Fund will support UNRWA’s Kalandia Training Centre on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The project will provide training in 12 trades to 320 trainees, most of whom are from families classed as absolute and abjectly poor. The money will also pay for new modern equipment to upgrade other courses. The project will create stronger links and partnerships with the private sector for curriculum validation, and enhance the employment opportunities of graduates by introducing new market-driven training programmes.

Welcoming the agreement, Mr Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “This agreement marks a milestone in the cooperation between UNRWA and the Al Aqsa Fund administered by the IDB. UNRWA is extremely appreciative of the support being provided by the Arab countries that contribute to the Al Aqsa Fund and to the IDB. At a time when the Palestinian population of Jerusalem needs support as never before, these two projects are precious gifts to the students of Shu’fat and Kalandia, and to their families.”

Education is critical for the refugee community of Jerusalem. By enabling human development and allowing refugees to improve their economic conditions, education enhances their capacity to resist displacement, fragmentation, access restrictions and dispossession.

-ENDS-

Background information
UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some 4.7 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight. The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, social safety-net, camp infrastructure and improvement, community support, microfinance and emergency response, including in times of armed conflict.

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by contributions from States. The Agency’s core budget for 2010-2011 stands at $1.23 billion. In 2009, emergency appeals for the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon amounted to $827.4 million.

For more information please contact:

Peter Ford
Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General
Mobile: +962 (0) 77 676 0062
Office: +962 (0) 65 80 8521
p.ford@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0) 54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0) 2 589 0724
s.mshasha@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$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact:

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