MERCY-USA contributes to vital UNRWA Programmes in Gaza

23 September 2021

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has signed an agreement with Mercy-USA for Aid and Development to provide critical health and education interventions to Palestine refugees living in the Gaza Strip.

The US$ 250,000 contribution will provide funding for some 3,5000 mammograms to at risk Palestine refugee women. Additional health interventions include the provision of medical equipment for vision screening ensuring more than 90,000 students are screened for visual impairment via services managed by UNRWA school health teams. Glucometers and glucostics for hundreds of diabetic Palestine refugees, most of them children, will also be provided.

The contribution will also support educational services for 520 visually impaired refugee girls and boys who receive care at the UNRWA Rehabilitation Centre for the Visually Impaired (RCVI). Funding will be used to provide dozens of tablets for students to ensure access to education, especially in the event of a return to remote learning in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Mercy-USA is also financing upgrades and repairs to the RCVI facility’s yard and solar power system, with the aim of enhancing the learning environment for students and their teachers. Through its specialized education, rehabilitation, orientation and life skills classes, the RCVI has assisted thousands of visually impaired students in gaining the skills and the confidence they need to successfully navigate hurdles to education access and job opportunities in Gaza. This is the third round of funding support from Mercy-USA to the UNRWA RCVI, providing invaluable support to the critical services provided by the Centre.

UNRWA health, education and relief and social services programmes are three of the Agency’s core programmes delivered to Palestine refugees across all five of its fields of operation. In the Gaza Strip alone, the UNRWA Health Department has historically registered an average of 4 million patient consultations across 22 healthcare centres every year. Additionally, the Agency is proud to provide free primary education to more than 286,000 girls and boys across 278 schools in the 365 km² enclave.

Mercy-USA, a long-standing partner to the Agency, seeks to alleviate human suffering by supporting projects focused primarily on health, nutrition and economic and educational empowerment.

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 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.

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140