‘Peace Starts Here’ school bus begins journey around Spain

19 May 2011

Members of the public in Madrid this week were surprised to see a strange-looking bus on the city’s streets. Specially adapted to work as a mobile classroom and emblazoned with the message ‘Peace Starts With Education’, the bus will travel around the country’s provinces, aiming to raise awareness about the situation of Palestine refugees.

In the mobile classroom, students and members of the public will be treated to a series of special workshops, focusing on the situation of Palestinian refugees as a case study for human rights and tools for coexistence.

UNRWA’s Spanish Committee hopes that the bus and its resources will provide the Spanish public with a glimpse into the lives of Palestinian refugees, and encourage the universal fulfilment of human rights.

Peace Starts With Education

The bus activity is part of a wider educational project, ‘Solidarity in the classroom’, carried out since 2008 by UNRWA’s Spanish Committee in partnership with the Spanish Agency of Cooperation for Development (AECID). The project encourages children and young people to compare different realities, emphasising human rights, respect and coexistence both inside and outside the Spanish classroom.

The programme works with students and teachers to encourage the use of different ways to focus on human rights in the classroom. ‘Peace Starts With Education’, with its special focus on human rights and Palestine refugees, forms part of that project.

The mobile school bus will travel throughout the municipalities of Spain from 3 to 24 May. In each locality, secondary school students will visit the mobile classroom in the mornings; in the afternoons, the bus will be open to the general public.

UNRWA Spanish Committee

UNRWA’s Spanish Committee is the first national committee created by UNRWA. Established in 2005, its objective is to inform the Spanish population about the living situation of 4.8 million Palestinian refugees and UNRWA’s humanitarian work with them over the past 60 years.

The Committee raises both public and private funds to support UNRWA in maintaining the quality of services provided to Palestinian refugees.

Cadena de Ayuda Humanitaria

UNRWA’s Spanish Committee started the Spanish-language campaign Cadena de Ayuda (Chain of Humanitarian Aid) in response to the humanitarian situation faced by refugee children in Gaza. The fundraising campaign is based on the construction of a virtual human chain of humanitarian aid.

Cadena de Ayuda will help thousands of children in Gaza Strip improve their health, education and nutrition. In addition, this campaign helps inform Spanish society about the insecurity and lack of rights of refugee children living in the Gaza Strip.

Visit Cadena de Ayuda Humanitaria

Visit the Spanish Committee’s website

For more information on UNRWA’s Spanish Committee, contact:
Cristina Poveda
Tel: +91 702 70 59 / 625 21 78 74
Email: [email protected]

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+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)258 90724
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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