Realmadrid Foundation and UNRWA unite for Palestine refugee children

25 November 2011

A goal for peace

  • A partnership agreement has been signed by Mr Florentino Pérez, President of Real Madrid FC, and Mr Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA. The signing took place in Santiago Bernabéu Stadium executive box.
  • This partnership agreement will lead to the establishment of eight Social Sport Schools in the Gaza Strip and West Bank in which 10,000 Palestine refugee children will participate.

24 November 2011

Filippo Grandi and Florentino Perez This evening Realmadrid Foundation and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) have signed a partnership agreement to promote sports programmes in UNRWA schools that will contribute to improving the lives of Palestine refugee children in the Middle East.

The event, which took place in the Royal Box of Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid was attended by Mr Filippo Grandi, UNRWA Commissioner-General and Mr Florentino Pérez, President of Realmadrid Foundation and Real Madrid FC, as well as Enrique Sánchez, Vice President of Realmadrid Foundation, and Raquel Martí, UNRWA Spanish Committee Executive Director.

“The education of new generations, who constitute the future, is the essential axis of peacebuilding in the Middle East,” said the UNRWA Commissioner-General. He added “With about 700 schools across the Middle East, UNRWA emphasises quality education; access for all refugee children to a sound education; the learning of the principles of tolerance and respect, gender equality and self-improvement. This joint project that UNRWA and Realmadrid Foundation have undertaken promotes all these things”.

Mr Florentino Pérez added: “The power of football and the grip of Real Madrid are a beautiful combination that should be present in the world of solidarity. It´s a honour for Realmadrid Foundation being in Palestine”. Mr Pérez also asserted that: “In Real Madrid, we are convinced that this work in Palestine is an open door to future and deep collaborations.” He also thanked UNRWA and its staff for their ”effort, compromise and work”.

- ENDS -

Background information

Eight Social Sports Schools in the Gaza Strip and West Bank

Realmadrid Foundation and UNRWA will jointly implement eight Social Sports Schools in Gaza and the West Bank which will benefit more than 10,000 Palestine refugee children.

This project will give Palestine refugee children the opportunity to practise sports and learn values such as teamwork and to increase their self-esteem. In addition, they will enjoy a fundamental right: the right to play.

This project is all the more important as refugee children are daily surrounded by armed conflict. The chance to participate in sport activities with some of the greatest football stars in the world, led by Realmadrid Foundation, is an extraordinary and much-valued opportunity for the refugee children of Gaza and the West Bank.

Children in Gaza and the West Bank

Today, almost a third of world refugees are Palestinian. UNRWA provides assistance to nearly 5 million Palestine refugees who are still waiting for a just and durable solution to their plight.

More than 71 per cent of Palestine refugees are children and teenagers. Almost 3.5 million of the 5 million refugees who live in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan are under 18 years of age. Furthermore, the lives of several thousand refugee children are affected by the conflict which deprives them of their most essential rights.

UNRWA and education

In this context, UNRWA is one of the largest providers of education in the Middle East. It provides education to half a million children with around 22,000 teachers in about 700 schools.

UNRWA’s education programme provides education for future generations of Palestine refugees. This is in line with UNRWA’s commitment to the first UN Millennium Development Goal: to ensure universal primary education.

UNRWA Spanish Committee supports UNRWA‘s humanitarian programmes and, in Spain, raises public awareness of Palestine refugees’ situation.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267


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: