Palestinian students equipped to gain employment in the reconstruction and recovery of Nahr el-Bared

30 September 2010

30 September 2010

Graduating studentsOn 30 September, 171 Palestinian students graduated from UNRWA‘s North Training Centre (NTC), in the presence of the Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy in Beirut, Michael Bierhoff, and the Director of UNRWA affairs in Lebanon, Salvatore Lombardo.

On this occasion Mr Bierhoff said: “Professional training and employment are basic needs of every man and every woman. It helps people to feel themselves living in comfort and dignity. Here in UNRWA‘s North Training Centre young men and women have the opportunity to take an important step towards this aim. Today, we are witnessing that 171 Palestinian students are graduating from this institution and I am very happy to know that the German government has contributed to a considerable amount to this success story.”

In turn Mr Lombardo congratulated the new graduates and said: "Education is a key priority for Palestine refugees and for UNRWA. It provides the basis for progress and that is why the Northern Vocational Training Centre is so important, particularly in a context where the opportunities for young people are limited. I thank the German government for its investment not just in the youth we see here today but in the future of the Palestinian community.”

The ceremony marked the completion of the training for 171 Palestinian refugees, in the following courses: welding and pipe fabrication, plumbing and central heating, refrigeration and air conditioning, general electric and diesel mechanics, architecture, civil engineering, business and office management and land surveying.

Initial indications show that many graduates have already found employment in the relevant fields, which demonstrates the importance of this training for Palestinian youth. A full tracer study of employability of graduate trainees will be completed in the coming months.

The NTC was established in 2008, thanks to a generous donation from the German government to run trade and semi-professional courses that will enable young Palestine refugees in north Lebanon to gain employment in the reconstruction and recovery of NBC, in which many of them lost their homes. At present, 365 young Palestinians (232 male, 133 female) are enrolled in the NTC, while 36 students graduated in February 2010 from one-year and short-term courses.

Germany has recently donated a EUR 250,000 contribution for health in NBC. This will enable UNRWA to continue the provision of hospital care and medication for the most vulnerable families from NBC.

As one of UNRWA’s major donors, in the aftermath of the NBC conflict, Germany responded with generosity to the humanitarian emergency, by contributing Euro 2.2 million to the Agency‘s Flash and Emergency Appeals (2008), and Euro 1.1 million to relief and early recovery activities in Nahr el-Bared since 2009, in addition to the Euro 2 million for the NTC pledged in 2008.

----- End ----

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 more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact: