UNRWA Opens Family Support Office in Damascus

06 December 2013


Following the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, observed on 25 November, Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of Affairs in Syria for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), opened a family support office to serve Palestine refugees in Damascus.

Located within the UNRWA Women’s Programme Centre in the Alliance area of Damascus and staffed by volunteer lawyers, social workers and psych-support counsellors, the office will provide support and assistance to women on family issues, particularly as they relate to the law.  The office will also enhance the role of women in the family and community, while providing psychosocial support for family members, particularly those who have experienced conflict-related trauma.
Based on the success of similar UNRWA centres in Yarmouk and Dera’a, the office will provide its services to displaced refugees at the UNRWA-run collective shelters in Damascus.

Inaugurating the office, Mr. Kingsley-Nyinah said:  “We must raise our awareness of this kind of violence and realize that in times of conflict, violence against girls and women tends to increase. We must be alert and should do everything we can to prevent this kind of violence from taking place.”  He also thanked the Syrian government and offered his gratitude to the charities and non-governmental organizations that worked with UNRWA on women’s issues.

Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees (GAPAR), highlighted the fruitful cooperation between GAPAR and UNRWA and emphasized the government’s ongoing commitment to Palestine refugees. 

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 more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact:

Hala Mukhles
Public Information Officer - Syria Field Office
+ 963 (0) 940 88103
+ 963 (0) 940 88103