Bank Audi finances Husseinieh Sewing Production Unit's expansion

10 March 2009

10 March 2009

On the occasion of the International Women‘s Day UNRWA in cooperation with Bank Audi inaugurated on 10 March the expansion of Husseinieh Sewing Production Unit in Damascus under the slogan "Together for Women and Girls‘ Better Life".

"This project aims at providing opportunities for women and their families, in order to ameliorate their economic situation and living standards" said Mr. Panos Moumtzis, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria at the opening ceremony. He acknowledged the important role Bank Audi has played in assisting Palestine refugees in Syria, encouraging other financial institutions and private sector actors to join hands for improving the lives of the Palestine refugees. "We are very appreciative of Bank Audi‘s generous contribution and support for these people."

In her remarks, Ms Maha Nasser, Senior Communication Officer, Bank Audi, Syria said: "Since the civic role is one of Bank Audi‘s values in Syria, our cooperation with UNRWA to support the sewing production unit is part of our continuous corporate social responsibility towards the Syrian community."

Established in February 2008, the Unit provides refugee women with new skills which empower and enable them to generate additional income for their families. The Unit works under UNRWA‘s Relief and Social Services Programme and amongst its beneficiaries - who total over 60 women since it was created - are widows, female heads of households, divorced women, and women with disabilities. The Unit had previously received a US$20,000 grant from Bank Audi in 2008 to finance its expansion and the purchase of necessary equipment, which will help to increase the number of women benefiting from this initiative.

Husseinieh is a very poor area where many people are not able to find resources to meet their basic needs. Women are facing greater barriers in attaining economic security and access to the labor market.

Bank Audi is a financial group that offers a broad range of commercial and retail products and services. The bank has 21 branches throughout Syria including Damascus, Damascus Countryside, Aleppo, Lattakia, Homs, Tartous, Hama, Qameshli, Dera‘a, Deir Ezzour and Sweida. In 2007, the Bank donated US$25,000 for refugee shelter rehabilitation in Husseinieh.

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Hala Mukhles
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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.

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