Islamic Relief USA Provides Support for Vulnerable Palestine Refugee Children in Gaza

09 June 2017
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl (right) met with IR USA CEO Anwar Khan (left) in May 2017 to strengthen ties and acknowledge the continued support of IR USA for Palestine refugees. © 2017 UNRWA Photo

Islamic Relief USA (IR USA) has generously contributed US$1.96 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Gaza to help provide 2,400 vulnerable Palestine refugee children with assistance and support that will contribute towards enhancing their resilience and coping mechanisms.

Through this contribution, IR USA will enable UNRWA to help vulnerable children in Gaza who are living in an insecure environment – saturated with poverty, a devastated economy, environmental and infrastructure destruction, and confinement due to the 10-year blockade – attain a decent standard of living. The project, which commenced in April 2017 and will continue until March 2018, is being managed and implemented by the Agency’s relief and social services programme (RSSP). It targets 1,812 vulnerable orphans and 588 vulnerable children with disabilities who are registered in UNRWA Community-Based Rehabilitation Centres (CBRCs) and/or the UNRWA Rehabilitation Centre for the Visually Impaired (RCVI) in Gaza. Assistance includes monthly financial allowances, back-to-school supplies (for school-age orphans) and clothing. The project’s activities also include implementing social intervention activities for these children and their families and organizing capacity-building and training courses for 50 children aged 16-18 years old.

“The commitment by Islamic Relief USA to UNRWA over the last years sends a strong message to Palestine refugees that their voices are being heard and that the international community is working to address their needs,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl. “I look forward to continue working closely with Islamic Relief USA throughout 2017 and into the years ahead.”

“We appreciate the important work that UNRWA is doing to address the needs of Palestine refugee children across the region,” said Anwar Khan, the Chief Executive Officer of Islamic Relief USA. “IR USA is proud to partner with UNRWA for vulnerable children in Gaza. Together, the best gift we can give these children and their parents is hope.”

Thanks to the support of IR USA, during the first phase of this project, the Agency was able to serve 1,000 vulnerable children who were orphaned as a result of the 2014 hostilities. During the second phase, UNRWA is incorporating other groups of vulnerable children in addition to orphans.

Including this latest contribution, IR USA has provided a total of over US$ 12 million to the Agency’s 2014 emergency response in Gaza, in addition to its support to the Agency for food assistance, collective centres and non-food items.

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.