Gaza: 300,000 Palestine refugees to benefit from EU-UNRWA Education in Emergencies partnership

18 January 2023


In 2022, the European Union (EU) has allocated €2.6 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to provide vital psychosocial support to school children. They have been negatively impacted by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and by repeated recent conflict and violence that have resulted in the deaths of several children.  

"Education is key in building confidence among Palestine refugee children. To help children achieve their best in education, it is key to foster their well-being and keep them in a protective environment. This project with after-school activities and life-skill sessions could be a turning point for many Palestine refugee students," said Thomas White, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza.

The EU humanitarian funding in support of the Agency’s Education in Emergencies programme will strengthen childrens’ psychosocial resilience, coping mechanisms and mental well-being.  Some 300,000 school children in the Gaza Strip will be given the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in a friendly, safe and creative learning environment where both children and education staff are protected.

“The EU is a strong supporter every child’s needs to grow and learn in a safe environment to maximise their opportunities in life. Palestine refugee children in Gaza can count on us to access quality education and feel better protected and supported,” said Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management.


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Notes to editors

  • Children make up nearly half of the population in the Gaza Strip, which has been under blockade for 16 years. Repeated rounds of conflicts and a progressively deteriorating economic situation are stress triggers threatening mental health and psychological well-being affecting students’ academic achievement.
  • Some 300,000 children attend 278 UNRWA schools in Gaza.
  • Following the May 2021 hostilities in the Gaza Strip, and based on a survey conducted by UNRWA, the incidence of war-related traumata increased, leaving about 42 per cent of surveyed UNRWA first grade school children in Gaza in need of psychosocial support.
  • As part of EiE in Gaza, UNRWA provides mental health and psychosocial support for children through the provision of after-school interventions, allowing them to participate in recreational activities that also facilitate referrals to more specialized mental health care, as needed.
Background Information: 


UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

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About EU Humanitarian Aid

The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid.  Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.

Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.

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