Reaching for the sky: Gaza children attempt a second world record in just one week

28 July 2010


Fresh from their basketball record last week, this Thursday 29 July, thousands of children in Gaza attending UNRWA’s Summer Games will attempt to smash their own world record for the number of kites flown simultaneously. Over three thousand “UNRWA Summer Games” children broke the existing kites record a year ago.

“I have no doubt they can do it again”, said UNRWA’s Gaza Director, John Ging. “I remember so well that iconic image last year of thousands of children on the beach flying kites they had made themselves. It encapsulated brilliantly the creative energy of their entire generation, pointing upwards to what they can achieve if allowed to reach their full potential”.

On Thursday last week, over 7,200 children attending UNRWA Summer Games in Gaza bounced basketballs simultaneously for five minutes, doubling the previous world record. If, as seems likely, this is verified by the Guinness Book of World Records, it will be another record.

“Surely two world records in a week would be another world record”, said a beaming Ging, concluding with a word of thanks. “I want to express my gratitude to our three donors to Summer Games, the Finnish Government, the European Commission and UNRWA’s largest donor, the United States . Without this amazing partnership between them and the children of Gaza none of this would be possible.”

UNRWA‘s Summer Games, conducted for the fourth year with the full support and involvement of the community, is the largest recreation programme for Gaza’s children, providing a diversified set of activities including sports, swimming, arts and crafts, theatre and drama. The Summer Games commenced on 12 June and will run through 5 August, providing 1,200 summer camps for over 250,000 refugee children across the Gaza Strip.

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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$ 100 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
+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

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