Gaza children set for second world record in just a week

29 July 2010

29 July 2010
East Jerusalem

UNRWA photo by Shareef Sarhan

Gaza 29 July, 2010: Thousands of children in Gaza attending Summer Games organized by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) appear to have doubled their own world record for the number of kites flown simultaneously. The world record breaker took place on a beach in northern Gaza in the same location where they set the world record just one year ago. UNRWA sources say the unofficial figure for the number of kites flown is over seven thousand two hundred.

A delighted UNRWA Gaza Director, John Ging said, “We still have to await final confirmation from the Guinness Book of World Records, but according to our figures the kids have done it, what an amazing achievement, two world records in a week”

On Thursday last week, over 7,200 children bounced basketballs simultaneously for five minutes, doubling a 2007 record set in the United States.

“Like children anywhere in the world”, said Ging, “Children here must have a sense of normality, despite the abnormality they face in their daily lives, today’s achievement has lifted the spirits of the entire population here in Gaza . I ask all our supporters out there to go to our blog and leave messages of congratulation and encouragement at www.facebook.com/unrwa”.

The world record breakers were part of the Summer Games program, organized by UNRWA in nearly one hundred and fifty locations across Gaza over a six week period, involving some quarter of a million children in sporting, recreational and cultural activities.

This is the fourth Summer Games season organized by UNRWA and for the fourth successive year, thousands of UNRWA teachers have given up their summer holidays to allow the children of Gaza simply to have fun.

“I would like to thank all our staff and of course the children”, said Ging, “But I also want to send a word of special gratitude to our three donors to Summer Games; the Finnish Government, the European Commission and UNRWA’s largest donor, the United States of America. Without this amazing partnership between them and the children of Gaza none of this would be possible.”

Note to journalists:

Broadcast quality downloads will be available in PAL and NTSC from the UNifeed website - http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/ 

Stills can be obtained via Facebook page at www.facebook.com/unrwa, or by request.

For further information, please contact:

Chris Gunness +972-542 402 659 / c.gunness@unrwa.org (English)
Adnan Abu Hasna +972-599 428 061 / a.abu-hasna@unrwa.org (Arabic)

Background information:

UNRWA‘s Summer Games, conducted for the fourth year with the full support and involvement of the community, is the largest recreation programme for Gaza’s children, providing a diversified set of activities including sports, swimming, arts and crafts, theatre and drama. The Summer Games commenced on 12 June and will run through 5 August, providing 1,200 summer camps for over 250,000 refugee children across the Gaza Strip.

For up-to-date photos, videos and commentary on UNRWA and the Summer Games: http://www.facebook.com/unrwa 

For Arabic speakers, a dedicated website provides information on the Games: http://summergames.unrwa.ps/

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$ 69 million.

For more information, please contact:

Gaza Emergency 1
US$ 30 GIVES COUNSELLING TO A TRAUMATISED CHILD