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Inauguration of the UNRWA Aida Boys’ School and Health Centre
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) inaugurated today the UNRWA Aida Boys’ School and Health Centre, located in Aida Camp, in Bethlehem in the southern West Bank. The inauguration ceremony comes in conjunction with the start of the 2021-2022 school year and was attended by the Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Gwyn Lewis.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Ms. Lewis said: “On behalf of UNRWA, I would like to welcome each of you to this very special event, the inauguration of Aida Boys’ School and Health Centre. This project is only one among many other infrastructure projects funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On behalf of all UNRWA staff in the West Bank Field, Aida camp residents, and the Palestine refugee community, I would like to thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their generosity.”
This contribution from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) of US$ 4,110,000, enables UNRWA to substantially improve the learning environment for the 467 students enrolled at Aida Boys’ School. The project includes the construction and furnishing of 18 classrooms for 1-9 grade students, a multipurpose room, library, computer and science labs, as well as a kitchen and canteen.
In addition, the contribution has enabled for the Aida Health Centre to be fully furnished and equipped to ensure sufficient capacity to accommodate patients and guarantee an optimal level of medical care. The Centre’s 21 dedicated medical staff serve close to 29,000 registered Palestine refugees living in Aida camp and the surrounding areas.
Since 2013, through the generous grants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 39 UNRWA installations have been constructed or rehabilitated in the West Bank, including schools and health centres. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated more than US$ 800 million to the Agency and has become one of the largest donors to UNRWA.
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 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations, namely the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. Thousands of Palestine refugees who lost both their homes and livelihood because of the 1948 conflict have remained displaced and in need of significant support for over seventy years. UNRWA helps them achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.
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