The Real Madrid Foundation travels to the occupied Palestinian territory to start a new course of Social Sports Schools

16 March 2015


The Real Madrid Foundation and UNRWA are starting a second edition of the ‘Social Sports Schools in the occupied Palestinian territory (Gaza and West Bank)’ programme. This new series of activities represents the renewal of the Real Madrid Foundation’s committment to Palestine refugee children attending UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The support offered by the Real Madrid Foundation is even more valuable now due to the dramatic situation that children in the Gaza Strip face after the hostilities last summer. The activities promoted by the Foundation and UNRWA will help Palestine refugee children overcome the trauma caused by the last military offensive, the third in five years.

Staff from the Real Madrid Foundation will travel to the West Bank from 21 to 23 March to carry out training for 24 UNRWA teachers from Gaza and the West Bank. These teachers will later act as coaches in UNRWA schools, applying their new knowledge and skills throughout the academic year.

This second edition of the Social Sports Schools programme will welcome 1,100 students – 600 in the West Bank and 500 in Gaza – expanding its impact to more children who do not have access to out-of-school activities; giving them an alternative leisure activity, and creating a space where they can escape the reality of poverty and violence in their lives.

The training will take place at the Kalandia Training Centre in Ramallah and will consist of theoretical and practical sessions in which a group of around 50 students will participate. The practical sessions will be open to the media on 21 March from 12:30 to 14:30 and 23 March from 8:30 to 10:30.

A long-lasting commitment

These activities take place within the framework of an agreement signed between the Real Madrid Foundation and UNRWA, in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, by then-Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

Around 1,100 refugee children have so far benefited from the programme by taking part in training and activities organized as part of the football academies, which promote education in values, teamwork, gender equality and leadership among Palestine refugee children.

A haven for children

The project, which is being implemented in 11 schools in the Gaza Strip and 18 schools in the West Bank, represents a safe haven for many refugee children living in refugee camps in the ocupied Palestinian territory – a place where they can regain their status as children, far from a routine marked by violence. The children find in this environment a shelter where they can dream to become great athletes, like their Real Madrid idols. Whether they get to follow their footsteps or not, values learned through the game will become an asset in the future.

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