New scholarships for UNRWA students funded by OPEC Fund (OFID)

07 June 2011

7 June 2011
Amman

The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed a US$ 1 million agreement for UNRWA’s education programme. The contribution will be used to fund scholarships for Palestine refugee students in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. The contribution will allow young Palestine refugees who excel academically and would otherwise be unable to afford tertiary education to attend university by covering the cost of tuition for the whole duration of their degree. The contribution will cover the period from 2011 to 2016.

The US $1 million from OFID will not only allow around 100 Palestine refugee students to create a better future for themselves but will also contribute to the economic and social development of the Palestine refugee community as a whole by creating a skilled workforce. Assisting young Palestine refugees is a crucial aim for UNRWA as whole.

The cost of tertiary education is prohibitively high for many Palestine refugee students. However through generous contributions such as this from OFID and through its own funding in the past, UNRWA has been able to assist 5,545 scholars in 50 different fields of study and specialisations.

OFID is a longstanding partner of UNRWA in the area of microfinance. In addition it has funded food assistance for Gaza, and is currently funding the construction of new schools in Nahr el-Bared Camp, Lebanon, which is under reconstruction.

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For further information please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Arabic Spokesperson
+972 542 168 295
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

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.

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