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EU, UNICEF and UNRWA: Back-to-school kits for Palestine refugee students from Syria and Palestine refugee students in Lebanon
UNRWA has held a ceremony at the Nimreen Preparatory School for Girls in Tyre to mark the beginning of the 2014/2015 school year. At the ceremony, Nimreen students received ‘back-to-school’ kits that include useful stationary items generously funded by UNICEF and the EU. This scholastic year, 38,619 Palestine refugee students in Lebanon and Palestine refugee students from Syria in Lebanon received these kits.
At Nimreen school, the back-to-school kits were distributed in the presence of Head of Cooperation for the Delegation of the European Union Alexis Loeber, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Lebanon Luciano Calestini and Acting Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon Ziyad Qamar.
Mr. Qamar thanked UNICEF and the EU for invaluable support, which has helped UNRWA mitigate the impact of the ongoing conflict in Syria. “Despite the challenges we face, education remains one of our top priorities and we, together with our partners, are committed to providing Palestine refugee children with a positive environment in the classroom and the tools to succeed in their studies,” he said.
Mr. Calestini said: “These back-to-school supplies have proven essential in facilitating access to learning for Palestine refugee children in Lebanon and for Palestine refugees who have arrived here from Syria.”
Mr. Loeber said: “Today marks an opportunity for us to celebrate education and to underline the importance education has in the development of every child. The European Union is deeply engaged in supporting the education sector in Lebanon – not just for Palestinian and Syrian refugees, but also for Lebanese children.”
The European Union is a leading UNRWA donor and has a long standing history of supporting UNRWA through its regular budget, emergency appeals and projects. The EU has provided EUR 6 million (US$ 7.5 million) in support of emergency education for Palestinian refugee children from Syria.
As one of the largest UNRWA partners in education and health for children, UNICEF has provided nearly US$ 7 million in cash and in-kind contributions since 2013 for education, health, child protection and water and sanitation.
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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