Celebrating Music and Children, thanks to Italian support

10 December 2009

10 December


MusicCanto choir

The voices of young refugees, singing songs from Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Italy delighted guests at the Italian Salesian Theatre in Damascus yesterday, in a concert celebrating a joint project by UNRWA, UNHCR and the Italian Embassy Cooperation Office.

The initiative, known as ‘MusiCanto’, aims to provide musical education to Iraqi and Palestine refugees. Launched in January 2009 in three different locations - Nimreen School in Yarmouk, Sayyedeh Zeynab, and the Cultural Centre in Qudssaya, MusiCanto has so far provided singing lessons for 52 talented Palestinian and Iraqi children aged eight to 17.

Yesterday’s concert, the fourth public performance by the talented group, was presided over by his Excellency Mr. Achille Amerio, Ambassador of Italy, by Mr. Roger Hearn, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, Mrs. Renata Dubini, the UNHCR Representative, and Mr. Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees.

"The arts, especially music, are a fundamental part of the educational process of children," said Mr. Hearn. "I would like to thank the Italian government for the support that made the MusiCanto project possible."

His Excellency Mr. Amerio added: "Italy has always been a place thriving with culture; as a country, we value cultural education very much, especially at an early age. By projects like MusiCanto, in coordination with the United Nations, we think the Italian Cooperation Office better serves the Palestinian and Iraqi refugees in Syria."

UNRWA provides assistance and protection to Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. It does so by offering to a population of some 4.7 million refugees a range of human development and humanitarian services in primary and vocational education, primary health care, social safety-net, community support, infrastructure and camp improvement, microfinance and emergency response, including in situations of armed conflict. UNRWA’s role also encompasses advocacy and actions to address the human rights and protection needs of Palestine refugees.

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states. The Agency’s core budget for 2010 and 2011 stands at $1.23 billion. In 2009, emergency appeals for the West Bank and Gaza amounted to $456.7 million, with an additional $370.7 million required for Lebanon.

For further information on UNRWA’s activities in Syria, please contact:

Hala Mukhles
Office: 6133035 ext 314
Mobile: 0940888103       

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:

Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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