UNRWA Signs Agreement to Reconstruct School in Nahr el-Bared Camp

17 November 2009

17 November 2009

Beirut

The Welfare Association today signed a memorandum of understanding with UNRWA and the Cayan company for Investment and Real Estate Development to help the reconstruction of a school in Nahr el-Bared camp, in northern Lebanon.

NBC Lebanon

Under the agreement, Cayan will contribute US$1.6 million towards the project, with the Welfare Association managing funds. UNRWA will provide the necessary land.

The memorandum was signed by the Director General of the Welfare Association, Atallah Kuttab, Cayan head, Ahmad Alhatti, and Deputy Director of UNRWA Lebanon, Roger Davies, in the presence of Faisal Alami, the vice-chairman of the Welfare Association trustees, and officials.

"This project reflects the commitment of the Welfare Association to support education through its programmes," Dr Kuttab said, adding: ‘The agreement falls within the partnership between Cayan and UNRWA to construct schools in Nahr el-Bared. We believe that this partnership will improve conditions in refugee schools in the camps of Lebanon."

Cayan’s Ahmad Alhatti remarked that investing in education is the most important thing that his company could do to support Palestinian children, while Roger Davies praised the efforts of the Welfare Association and Cayan to ‘contribute to improving education for Nahr el-Bared camp children" in partnership with UNRWA.

UNRWA was established in 1950. Today, some 422,000 Palestine refugees registered with the Agency in Lebanon benefit from its services in education, health, infrastructure and social services. The Agency runs 75 schools in Lebanon with 33167 enrolled students for the school year 2009-2010. UNRWA aims for all of its schools to run on a single-shift basis. In Lebanon, the only double-shift schools currently remaining are located in Saida and in the north, due to the crisis in Nahr el-Bared camp.

Cayan company is a pioneer in the field of real estate development in the Middle East, running commercial projects at a value of over USD 2 billion in the United Arab Emirates, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The Welfare Association was founded in Geneva in 1983 by Palestinian and Arab intellectuals and businessmen. It aims to provide developmental and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians on a private not-for-profit basis. The Welfare Association operates in the fields of education, culture, arts, community and economic development and health. Since its creation, it has implemented over 4000 programmes.

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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