UNRWA and UNICEF distribute back-to-school kits in Lebanon for second year

21 September 2011


For the second consecutive year, UNRWA and UNICEF distributed today back-to-school kits to Palestine refugee school children in UNRWA schools in Lebanon. The distribution of the kits took place in Yabad school in Sabra and was attended by Mrs Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF representative in Lebanon, Mrs Donata Lodi, head of national advocacy and international relations at the Italian Committee for UNICEF, funding the project, as well as Mr Salvatore Lombardo, the director of UNRWA affairs in Lebanon.

The US$ 270,000 project included school bags, kits with stationery items, copybooks, geometry kits adapted to the needs of students from grade 1 to 12.

The provision of grade-appropriate basic school stationery will give each student the tools to learn with. It will also support the majority of refugee families, will foster a positive learning environment and provide an incentive for students to continue attending their classes and not drop out.

Mrs Donata Lodi thanked Salvatore Lombardo and Annamaria Laurini for joining forces to implement this project: “I really hope that the support of the Italian people shall help the 33,510 Palestinian students in 68 schools whose families are increasingly facing difficulties in providing their children with these items.”

Mrs Annamaria Laurini thanked the generous contribution of the Italian National Committee. “Education is both a human right in itself and an indispensable means of realising other human rights. It is integral to promoting equity in society. Among other things, it can break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and deprivation, create opportunities for further education, and promote gender equality. With the UNICEF refocus on equity, we are committed to putting the most vulnerable children at the core of everything we do. This back-to-school initiative today is the evidence of our effort to ensure the rights of all Palestinian children represent another step towards ensuring quality education to the Palestinian children and with better education to increase the chances for a better future for all.”

Thanking UNICEF and the Italian National Committee, Mr Lombardo said: “We are very pleased that for the second consecutive year, our UNICEF partners have generously provided Palestinian children in Lebanon with stationery kits at the beginning of the new school year. This represents a financial contribution to a very poor refugee population. It also adds quality to their education.”

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:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724