Dubai Cares Assists UNRWA School Children in the Gaza Strip

22 March 2009

Dubai-based charitable establishment provides 30,300 school and hygiene kits to children with UNRWA help.

22 March 2009

East Jerusalem

For the first time since the end of Israel‘s military assault on the Gaza Strip, Dubai Cares and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) worked together to deliver relief aid to Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip.

Provided by Dubai Cares, the aid includes 18,055 hygiene kits and 12,300 school kits. The hygiene kits, composed of toilet paper, clothes cleaner, baby shampoo, tooth brush, tooth paste, comb, towel and soap, benefited displaced families. The school kits will be distributed by UNRWA personnel to the children as part of the Summer Learning programme. The school and hygiene kits are part of a total of 100,000 kits provided to Palestinian children by the UAE-based charitable establishment.

"This donation is highly appreciated by UNRWA and the refugees as it provided immediate assistance to school children who could not have received education services otherwise," said UNRWA‘s Commissioner-General, Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd, who added that it was very timely as UNRWA is preparing for the reconstruction of Gaza.

HE Reem Al Hashimy, Chairperson of Dubai Cares, said she was very pleased with the cooperation with UNRWA: "Dubai Cares appreciates UNRWA‘s assistance in delivering the much needed aid to Palestinian school kids in Gaza. The children of the Gaza Strip have been particularly affected by the war and we intend on making a positive contribution to their rehabilitation and their continued personal and intellectual development."

In addition to the kits, Dubai Cares provided the Gaza Strip with modular schools, an innovative approach which allows a swift response to an emergency need of education premises. One school occupies approximately 800 square meters of land and comprises 11 classrooms, 2 bathrooms for boys and girls and can accommodate up to 460 students. Due to space constraints, only one school was assembled in the area where Palestinian refugees have now set up camp and rubble from damaged buildings - including from the main school - litter the premises. Split into morning and afternoon sessions, one modular school is allowing 1,230 children to finally go back to school.

In just 22 days, more than 1,300 people were killed and over 5,000 injured in the fighting in Gaza, one of the most densely populated places in the world. According to United Nations estimates, Palestinian children account for approximately one out of every three persons killed.

Considered to be the world‘s largest NGO dedicated to primary education, Dubai Cares is committed to improving children‘s access to primary education in developing nations. Its emergency interventions - which to date include interventions in Chad, Myanmar and Ethiopia - stem from its philosophy that guaranteeing the continuity of children‘s education is as important as ensuring their physical well being.

UNRWA and Dubai Cares have cooperated in Lebanon, where Dubai Cares funded the education component of the Agency‘s Emergency Appeal in 2007 following the destruction of the Nahr El Bared Camp, and in Jordan where a primary school is being reconstructed with Dubai Cares funding. In total, Dubai Cares has so far donated over US$2.8 million to UNRWA in benefit of the Palestine refugees.

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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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