IRFAN Canada contributes $1.2m for West Bank girls school

04 August 2009

4 August 2009

Jerusalem

The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN-Canada), a registered charitable organisation in Canada, has donated US$ 1,2 million to UNRWA for the construction of a new girls’ school in the West Bank village of Battir.

The project encompasses the construction, equipping and furnishing of a new building to replace the dilapidated rented premises currently used by Battir Girl’s School. The Agency intends to construct a 2550 m2 new school building, which will consist of 17 classrooms, five specialized rooms, a head teacher’s room, teachers’ rooms, toilet block, standard canteen, playgrounds and retaining and boundary walls. The new school will directly benefit 388 pupils currently enrolled at UNRWA’s Girls’ School in Battir village.

The project is also expected to generate approximately 18,666 man-days of employment in the construction sector and related trades at a time when the rate of unemployment has reached an alarming level and the number of people living below the poverty line is growing due to the regime of closures and the barrier/fence surrounding the town. 

This donation is highly appreciated by UNRWA and the refugees as it will improve the education services provided to hundreds of children in the West Bank. “UNRWA is proud of its association with IRFAN-Canada for this project” said UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Karen Koning AbuZayd. She added that ”the Agency is pleased to see that this distinguished NGO has joined the ranks of the supporters of UNRWA and the Palestine refugees”.

IRFAN-Canada is an international relief and humanitarian nonprofit charitable organization, registered in Canada since 1998 and is actively involved in the alleviation of human suffering. The organization’s relief activities cover regions such as Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Algeria, Guyana, Sudan, Pakistan, South Asia, Niger, Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Canada.

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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