Yesterday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) inaugurated the UNRWA Qalqilya Basic Girls’ School in Qalqilya, located in the northern West Bank.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by the Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Felipe Sanchez; the local representative of IDB, Hani Abu Diab; the UNRWA Senior External Relations and Projects Officer, Munir Manneh; representatives of the Qalqilya municipality; UNRWA staff members; and representatives of the Palestinian community and school students.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Sanchez said: “This school is one more positive example of the Agency’s continued investments in expanding human development and opportunities for Palestine refugees. A good school environment is a key component in providing refugee children with quality, equitable and inclusive basic education. With the generous contribution from the Al-Aqsa Fund, which is managed by IDB, UNRWA has been able to build such a new, safe and inspiring school environment here in Qalqilya.”
Mr. Manneh said: “The Al-Aqsa Fund, which has been managed by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) since it was established in 2000, has provided about US$ 650 million in assistance to the Palestinian people. IDB has long been a valued partner of the Agency – providing assistance of about US$ 100 million through the years – and this school, along with many other IDB-supported projects in the West Bank, is an important reminder of their support to UNRWA."
Mr. Abu Diab, speaking on behalf of IDB, said: "It has been our pleasure to work with UNRWA, which helps provide educational opportunities to almost 500,000 Palestine refugees. We are very proud to be a part of this partnership as we aim to alleviate the hardships endured by Palestine refugees.”
With a generous donation of approximately US$ 2,000,000 from the Al-Aqsa Fund, managed by IDB, UNRWA has tremendously improved the learning environment for 1,047 students at the Qalqilya Basic Girls’ School.
The donation has allowed UNRWA to expand, renovate and furnish the Qalqilya Basic Girls’ School, which was built in 1950 and recently deemed structurally deficient. With new counseling, remedial and vocational education rooms, the School now also provides the space needed for extracurricular and educational activities and accommodates the demographic growth of the school populations.
The Islamic Development Bank has been managing several generous grants supporting UNRWA since 2001, placing an emphasis on the education programme. The Bank’s most recent grant for the UNRWA West Bank Field Office was launched in 2011, providing US$ 3.2 million for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of educational facilities in Shu’fat camp, as well as US$ 1.7 million to support vocational training centers in the West Bank.