UNRWA and the European Union inaugurate the new Palestine Martyrs School in Saida

12 December 2011

12 December 2011
Beirut

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Delegation of the European Union inaugurated today Palestine Martyrs elementary and preparatory boys’ school in Saida.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Mr Hugues Mingarelli, Managing Director for North Africa, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service of the European Union, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, the Ambassador of Palestine to Lebanon Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr Salvatore Lombardo, as well as representatives of the Palestinian community.

The construction and equipping of the school was funded by the European Union for EUR €850,000. The premises offer a sound and suitable educational environment for Palestinian students from grade one to nine. It also allows sufficient time for teaching and arranging after school recreational activities for students.

The Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Salvatore Lombardo, thanked the European Union for its continuous support to UNRWA: “With the opening of Palestine Martyrs School, all schools in Saida are operating on single shift. This allows a better environment and more qualitative education. This could not have happened without the European Union’s longstanding and generous contribution to improving education for Palestine refugees in Lebanon.”

In his address to the students of the new school, Mr Mingarelli said: "I am confident that education is a tool for personal growth, a ticket to employment and a passport to a better life. It is my honour today to hand over this new school to you as a gift from the people of Europe for better education for yourselves and your families."

The European Union is UNRWA’s major donor. In addition to its contribution to the General Fund, the EU has been for the past 5 years supporting the education of Palestine refugees in Lebanon, with a EUR €15 million education project that aimed at improving the quality of the  education service.

The EU‘s support to the education of Palestinian refugees through UNRWA also includes a university scholarship programme for Palestinian students in Lebanon.

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Not an official document
For more information please contact
UNRWA Public Information Office
Tel: 00961-1-840468
Email: 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$ 56 million.

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