Al-Khair Foundation signs MoU with UN Agency for Palestine refugees

28 July 2015
Al-Khair Foundation signs MoU with UN Agency for Palestine refugees. © 2012 UNRWA Photo by Shareef Sarhan.

In line with its commitment to improving the lives of the poor, Al-Khair Foundation (AKF), the third largest Muslim charity in the United Kingdom, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The GBP 500,000 (US$ 777,605) agreement will see UNRWA and AKF working together to provide education to besieged children in the Gaza Strip, including the potential to reconstruct schools, in line with the UNRWA #SOS4Gaza campaign.

The partnership is a result of the shared goal of AKF and UNRWA to alleviate suffering in one of the world’s most deprived areas.

Imam Qasim Rashid Ahmad, Chairman and Founder of Al-Khair Foundation, said that he was “delighted” to collaborate with UNRWA in making a difference in the lives of young Palestine refugees. “Partnering with UNRWA is a crucial part of our objective to enhance the impact of our work in the Middle East and provide programmes that improve the lives of those who need our help the most,” he said. “Education is a key focal point for AKF and we will continue to look at effective and efficient methods of delivery – including partnerships with agencies that share our vision.”

Matthias Burchard, Director of the UNRWA Representative Office to the European Union, expressed his hope that the MoU would be the first step in a long-term partnership between AKF and UNRWA. “For the past 65 years, we have been striving to help Palestine refugees achieve their full potential in human development,” he said. “We are certain that our partnership with Al-Khair Foundation will positively impact the lives of children who would otherwise have no access to education.”

Present at the MoU signing ceremony in Brussels were Matthias Burchard, Director, UNRWA Representative Office to the European Union; Imam Qasim Rashid Ahmad, Chairman and Founder, Al-Khair Foundation; and Saif Ahmad, CEO, Al-Khair Foundation.

While this contribution from AKF will provide urgently needed support for Palestine refugees, the UNRWA General Fund deficit still stands at US$ 101 million.

Donor Background

Al-Khair Foundation, the third largest Muslim charity in the United Kingdom, has been delivering humanitarian aid and providing support for the world’s most needy since 2003. This includes providing access to clean water, health-care services, temporary and permanent shelter, and formal education and vocational training in 25 countries across the world. 

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. 

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