Italy Contributes EUR 1 Million to Emergency Appeal to Help Palestine Refugee Children in Syria Go to School

05 March 2018

The Government of Italy has contributed EUR 1 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency’s 2017 Emergency Appeal for Syria.

The grant will support emergency education for Palestine refugee children in Syria and ensure that they are able to continue their education.

As the crisis approaches its eight year, Palestine refugees are increasingly relying on UNRWA for their survival. Of the 438.000 who remain in Syria, 95 percent receive UNRWA assistance and more than half have been displaced at least once within Syria. This has forced many children to change schools, and miss classes, sometimes for years at a time. This contribution will help to cover the organisation of remedial courses for pupils to cover such losses.

Being exposed to the daily realities of the conflict, including violence, hardship and traumas, has also affected schoolchildren. Most suffer from psycho-social trauma. The Italian grant will cover the operating costs of 14 Safe Learning spaces, which provide both academic and psychosocial support to children.

“The prolonged crisis has had a devastating impact on schoolchildren, with many of them experiencing displacement and disrupted access to schools,” said Mohammed Abdi Adar, UNRWA Director in Syria. “We thank the Italian government for supporting Palestine refugee children in Syria by ensuring that they can continue their education and are equipped for the future.”

The grant will also be used for “back-to-school” kits which will support Palestine refugee children as they enter the 2018-2019 academic year. More than 47,000 Palestine refugee children are currently enrolled in 104 schools which are directly managed, or supported, by UNRWA.

UNRWA is extremely grateful for the continued support from the Government of Italy. In 2017, Italy contributed EUR 14.3 million (US$ 17.7 million) to UNRWA, including EUR 2.39 (US$ 2.94 million) for the Agency’s Syria Appeal.

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
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+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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