Al Aqsa Fund joins UNRWA in Jerusalem education projects

24 January 2011

The Al Aqsa Fund, through its administrators the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have signed an agreement worth US$ 4.9 million for two important education projects in the Jerusalem area: the construction of a new school and support for the development of vocational training. A delegation from the IDB, led by Mr El Mansour Feten, Director of Trust Funds Department, visited Jordan last week to sign the two agreements with Mr Peter Ford, Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General.

A new US$ 3.1 million school will be built in Shu’fat refugee camp in Jerusalem, to replace the present dilapidated school. The building will have spacious classrooms and specialised rooms, providing an environment more conducive to teaching and learning. The new school will accommodate 2,445 students and will provide jobs for more than 100 teachers.

In a second project worth US$ 1.7 million, the Al Aqsa Fund will support UNRWA’s Kalandia Training Centre on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The project will provide training in 12 trades to 320 trainees, most of whom are from families classed as absolute and abjectly poor. The money will also pay for new modern equipment to upgrade other courses. The project will create stronger links and partnerships with the private sector for curriculum validation, and enhance the employment opportunities of graduates by introducing new market-driven training programmes.

Welcoming the agreement, Mr Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “This agreement marks a milestone in the cooperation between UNRWA and the Al Aqsa Fund administered by the IDB. UNRWA is extremely appreciative of the support being provided by the Arab countries that contribute to the Al Aqsa Fund and to the IDB. At a time when the Palestinian population of Jerusalem needs support as never before, these two projects are precious gifts to the students of Shu’fat and Kalandia, and to their families.”

Education is critical for the refugee community of Jerusalem. By enabling human development and allowing refugees to improve their economic conditions, education enhances their capacity to resist displacement, fragmentation, access restrictions and dispossession.

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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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. 

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UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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