UNRWA and the European Union celebrate the success of their summer project ‘Play and Learn’

10 August 2010

Beirut
5 August 2010

UNRWA and the European Union marked on August 4, the end of ‘Play and Learn’ - a pilot project that has provided Palestine refugee children in Lebanon with creative and educational activities this summer.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the European Commission in Lebanon, Ms. Cecile Abadie, and Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Salvatore Lombardo attended a ‘final festival’ held at Qibya School in Ein el-Hilweh camp on August 4. Starting August 2nd, a week-long set of performances have been taking place in the 7 UNRWA schools that have taken part in this pilot project.

On this occasion Ms. Abadie said "It is rare for us to get to visit projects that aim to put smiles on the faces of children, so this is a fantastic day for us. We thank our friends at UNRWA and their partners, the popular committees and the local community for their work, and above all we thank the children that have taken part".

Thanking all UNRWA partners, Mr. Lombardo said "The purpose of this project was essentially for the children and their parents to have some fun this summer, and enjoy their time making new friends and expressing themselves creatively. Judging by the performances and the smiles on the kids‘ faces, I think it is safe to say we have succeeded".

As part of a 15 million Euro contribution from the European Union to UNRWA’s education programme in Lebanon, around 4,000 Palestinian children aged 7-12 have been able to participate in 8 weeks of activities in UNRWA schools in Ein el-Hilweh, Shatila, Rashidieh, Beddawi and Wavel refugee camps.

In collaboration with the international non-governmental organization ‘Right to Play’, the UNRWA-EU project provides youth with creative learning experiences, room for self-expression and opportunities to develop their skills – foundations upon which a better future can be built.

Over the last three years, the European Commission has contributed over 45 million Euros to UNRWA in order to improve the living conditions for Palestine refugees in Lebanon

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For further information please contact Hoda Samra, UNRWA Public information officer in Lebanon: +961-70-010129 fax: +961-1-840468 or by e-mail: h.samra@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$ 68 million.

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