Young refugees celebrate better health at East Jerusalem festival

09 May 2012

East Jerusalem, West Bank

A festival of health and nutrition took place today in the East Jerusalem refugee camp of Shu’fat. Part of an ambitious project by UNRWA to promote better nutrition among Palestine refugee school children, the event was dreamed up by the Agency’s local girls‘ school to celebrate one year since the transformation of their canteen with healthier food.

Yesterday’s festivities kicked off with a march from the local women’s centre around the camp’s streets, led by local scout groups. In the school playground, where the march ended, students organised artistic performances and a special exhibition for an audience of students, teachers, and members of the local community.

The healthy eating initiative is part of a project by UNRWA to combat food insecurity in impoverished communities, that will be expanded to include more schools in the coming years. It aims to promote nutrition among school children, and contribute to one of UNRWA’s human development goals: ensuring a long and healthy life for all Palestine refugees.

The project, made possible by the French Social Development Fund, is implemented in partnership with the Juzoor Foundation for Health and Social Development, a Palestinian foundation dedicated to the promotion of health as a basic human right.

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