The Road to Silverstone, a new UNRWA film, premieres in New York

28 January 2013

28 January 2013
New York

The latest film from Gaza produced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had its premiere screening at the United Nations in New York last week. The film, The Road to Silverstone, was screened as part of a mini film festival organised by the NGO Working Group at the UN‘s headquarters. Participants represented a wide range of NGOs, universities and UN agencies.

Introducing the film, UNRWA representative Amira Hassan began by highlighting the dire situation in Gaza. "By 2020, the population of the Gaza Strip will grow by half a million people: that’s 500,000 more to be fed, housed, educated, and employed,” she explained. "More than half of the population will be under the age of 18; one of the highest proportions of youth in the overall population anywhere in the world.

Despite these circumstances, what you witness in this film is a group of capable and smart young men and women, determined to carry out their mission despite the obstacles they face."

UNRWA students test drive their Formula 1-style car.
 
The Road to Silverstone tells the true story of a group of young Palestine refugees who succeeded in building a Formula 1 racing car, the first ever such car built in Gaza, and in bringing it to compete at the international Formular Student competition at Britain’s famous Silverstone track.

Capturing the dreams of a group of young men and women and the challenges facing them, the film presents a side of life in Gaza rarely seen by the outside world.
 
The 11 young people who collaborated on building the car were all trained at UNRWA’s vocational training centre in Khan Younis, set up four years ago with the aim of providing training and learning opportunities for young people from poor backgrounds in the Gaza Strip.
 
Audience feedback was overwhelmingly positive. One member of the audience said: “This compelling film shows yet another heart-breaking example of what young people in Gaza could achieve if given the chance and if the blockade was lifted.

The fact that they achieved so much at Silverstone is in itself an astonishing and only proof of what people can do, when given the chance.”
 
UNRWA is currently seeking additional opportunities to screen the film. For information on the film, or to organise a screening in your area, email hq-pio@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 USD 68 million.
 
For more information, please contact:
 
Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org
 
Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
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$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact:

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