UNRWA Opens US-funded School in Dera’a Camp

03 November 2009

3 November 2009

Damascus

UNRWA unveiled a building today in Dera’a that will house a new school for girls. The Ein Karemen Girls School was funded generously by a USD 822,600 donation from the United States government. It, and has well-equipped and spacious classrooms, and specialized specialised rooms for the teaching of science, computing and music teaching..

His Excellency, Mr. Charles F. Hunter, Chargé d’affaires of the United States Embassy in Syria, inaugurated the school and used the opportunity to reiterate the United States’ enduring commitment to Palestine refugees in Syria. He said:, "The U.S. Government is an engaged partner with UNRWA in providing services to Palestine refugees in Syria. This school underscores our commitment to ensuring that Palestine refugee children in Dera’a have a safe and secure space in which to learn and grow."

This generous donation means that UNRWA has moved a step closer to its vision of an education programme that educates young people within a physical environment that is conducive to learning and achievement.

In thanking the United States and UNRWA’s local partners, Mr. Roger Hearn, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, stated:, "This school represents our collective commitment to the education of Palestine refugee youth and to preparing them for the challenges of modern life." He also acknowledged the important role of the Syrian Government, GAPAR and the Dera’a Governorate for their unwavering commitment to UNRWA’s education programme in Dera’a.

Representing His Excellency, Dr. Faisal Miqdad, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Milad ‘Attiyeh, Director of International Organizations and Conferences at the Ministry, repeated a call to the international community to offer additional assistance to the Agency to overcome its present financial predicament so that it can continue to fulfill its mandate to serve Palestine refugees until such a time as a just and lasting resolution to the refugee issue.

UNRWA provides education, healthcare, social services, shelter, and micro-credit services to over 450,000 Palestine refugees in Syria.

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Hala Mukhles
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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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