Malala Yousafzai Donates Prize Money to UNRWA to Help Rebuild a Damaged School in Gaza

29 October 2014
Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA Archives


Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai has announced she is donating US$ 50,000 to rebuild an UNRWA school damaged during the recent fighting in Gaza. Ms. Yousafzai made the announcement in Stockholm, where she accepted the prestigious World's Children's Prize. The amount represents all the prize money. Photos and the speech as delivered by Ms. Yousafzai will be available on the UNRWA website later this evening. Meanwhile, please feel free to use the version of her speech below and the statement in response by UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl.


Remarks by Malala Yousafzai on her Donation of US$ 50,000 to UNRWA

I am honored to announce all my World’s Children’s Prize money will go to help students and schools in an especially difficult place – in Gaza.

I am donating these funds to The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which is performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza, in very difficult circumstances.

The needs are overwhelming – more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age.  They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future.

This funding will help rebuild the 83 schools damaged during the recent conflict. Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long. We must all work to ensure Palestinian boys and girls, and all children everywhere, receive a quality education in a safe environment. Because without education, there will never be peace. Let us stand together for peace and education because together we are more powerful.


Malala Yousafzai Donates Prize Money to UNRWA to Help Rebuild a Damaged School in Gaza

Statement by UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl


Dear Ms. Yousafzai, Dear Malala,

We are so deeply touched by your decision to donate US$ 50,000, the entire amount of the prestigious ‘World's Children's Prize’, towards rebuilding an UNRWA school in Gaza damaged during the recent fighting. 

Recognition by you, a Nobel Laureate, who has shown so much personal courage and has campaigned so valiantly for the essential right of a child to receive an education, will lift the spirits of a quarter of a million UNRWA students in Gaza and boost the morale of our more than 9,000 teaching staff there. Their suffering during the fighting was devastating and your kindness will do much to ease the pain of recent months.

UNRWA shares with you the profound belief in the importance of education as a means to lift young girls and boys out of isolation, exclusion or oppression. Acquiring skills and knowledge to improve prospects for the future is profoundly engrained in the Palestinian consciousness. I wish therefore to accept your generosity and solidarity with deep gratitude and humility, on behalf of UNRWA itself, on behalf of all of our education staff in Gaza and on behalf of the children of Palestine.

You have become a symbol of the boundless potential that lies within each and every child on earth. You are an aspirational figure to the next generation in Palestine and beyond. You are an inspiration to all of us.

Thank you Malala.

With my very sincere and respectful wishes,

Pierre Krähenbühl,
Commissioner-General, UNRWA.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724