Korea Contributes US$ 450,000 to Improve Health and Well-Being of Palestine Refugee Girls in Gaza

12 May 2017
Young-sam Choi, the Head of the Representative Office of the Republic of Korea in Palestine, and Francoise Vanni, the Director of External Relations and Communications at UNRWA, sign an agreement on 11 May 2017 outlining the Republic of Korea’s US$ 450,000 contribution to UNRWA to develop and promote safe spaces and healthy lifestyles for Palestine refugee children in Gaza. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Marwan Baghdadi

The Government of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has contributed US$ 450,000 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to help provide a better and safer life for Palestine refugee girls in the Gaza Strip. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed earlier today by the UNRWA Director of External Relations and Communications, Francoise Vanni, and the Representative of the Republic of Korea to the Palestinian Authority, Young-Sam Choi, at the UNRWA offices in East Jerusalem.

This latest contribution from South Korea will directly benefit more than 120,000 Palestine refugee students in the Gaza Strip. It will allow for the development of girl-friendly recreational centres in UNRWA schools located in crowded areas of Gaza to ensure that Palestine refugee girls, who face barriers to exercising in public spaces, will be able to enjoy recreational and sports activities to improve their health and psychosocial well-being. The contribution will also allow for the provision of educational sessions on health issues for female UNRWA students in Grade 9 and the facilitation of a research study on the socioemotional well-being of Palestine refugee children in Gaza.

“As we approach the tenth year of the blockade on Gaza, we are reminded of the many challenges facing young Palestine refugees in the coastal enclave, especially girls, who – among other difficulties – face many barriers, including a lack of access to safe, public spaces to practice sports and exercise,” said Ms. Vanni. “As such, we are deeply grateful to South Korea for their generous contribution, which will help us continue supporting the health and socioemotional well-being of tens of thousands of Palestine refugee girls in Gaza and allow them to achieve their full potential.”

On behalf of the Korean government, Mr. Choi remarked, “The Korean government is looking forward to enhancing and developing the Palestinian refugees’ living conditions and providing a better life for them.”  

This project comes as part of South Korea’s ongoing ‘Better Life for Girls’ initiative, which aims to provide quality education and strengthen health services for the most vulnerable girls in developing countries. South Korea has become an important donor and partner for UNRWA in recent years, contributing nearly US$ 1.6 million to the Agency’s programmes and projects in 2016.

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:

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