UNRWA and Dubai Cares support the safety and wellbeing of Palestine refugee students in Gaza

20 March 2016
Palestine refugee students in UNRWA schools at the end of an arts and sports session, which was generously supported by Dubai Cares in the Gaza Strip. © 2015 UNRWA Photo

Supported by generous funding from Dubai Cares, the UNRWA Education Department and Community Mental Health Programme (CMHP) has engaged more than 175,000 children in UNRWA schools in Gaza through the delivery of weekly arts and sports classes. Around 1,620 UNRWA children have also received psychosocial support in the period between February and December 2015.

The project aims to help children develop positive coping mechanisms whilst living in Gaza, where the impacts of the blockade and deteriorating living conditions continue to have a particular impact on children. These difficulties can include fears and worries about the future, nightmares, decreased motivation in school, and poor concentration and learning. UNRWA is focusing on promoting the psychosocial well-being of all students while also involving teachers, parents and other care givers to better support them. Children are given space to express themselves and receive the support of counsellors as well as peers, in addition to having access to more targeted interventions provided by counsellors.

The Dubai Cares-funded project reinforces the above psychosocial efforts through arts activities and sports education, as creative arts are an important form of expression and the promotion of sport is a significant factor in human development. The project aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly on quality education and the target to “build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.”

Support from Dubai Cares through this project has included the training of 364 teachers on arts and sports activities and provided for 27 school counsellors who are trained on enhancing psychosocial support and respond to the needs of children in UNRWA schools.

In addition to these important activities, the second phase of the project, to be complete later in 2016, will enable approximately 1,500 children to access primary and preparatory education through constructing and equipping of a new UNRWA school in Gaza.

Training sessions for 364 female and male sports and arts teachers working in UNRWA schools. © 2015 UNRWA Photo
Training sessions for 364 female and male sports and arts teachers working in UNRWA schools. © 2015 UNRWA Photo
The Dubai Cares donation supported this closing ceremony on the occasion of the end of the last scholastic year. Approximately 600 UNRWA students participated and many senior leaders of the community and UNRWA staff attended the festival in Maghazi Prep School, Gaza. © 2015 UNRWA Photo
The Dubai Cares donation supported this closing ceremony on the occasion of the end of the last scholastic year. Approximately 600 UNRWA students participated and many senior leaders of the community and UNRWA staff attended the festival in Maghazi Prep School, Gaza. © 2015 UNRWA Photo
Palestine refugee students during a CMHP recreational activity in an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza. © 2015 UNRWA Photo
Palestine refugee students during a CMHP recreational activity in an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza. © 2015 UNRWA Photo
For the first time, 28 UNRWA schools competed in a basketball competition, as part of the Dubai Cares-funded project. © 2015 UNRWA Photo
For the first time, 28 UNRWA schools competed in a basketball competition, as part of the Dubai Cares-funded project. © 2015 UNRWA Photo
Drawing is one of the CMPH activities students in Gaza were encouraged to participate in. © 2016 UNRWA Photo
Drawing is one of the CMPH activities students in Gaza were encouraged to take participate in. © 2016 UNRWA Photo

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall,  projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 96.5 million. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724
Najwa Sheikh Ahmad
Acting Public Information Officer - Gaza Field Office
Mobile: 
+972 597 920 542
Office: 
+972 8 2887 488