Spanish Students Visit Aida Camp
On 18 March, a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) delegation brought over a dozen Spanish students from different Catalan universities to the Palestine refugee camp of Aida, in the West Bank. It was the first time these students had visited a refugee camp, where they saw young people like them living in extremely different conditions.
Amjad Abu Laban, Chief Area Officer for the South, welcomed the delegation in the Aida boys’ school and told them about the conditions of the camp and the services UNRWA provides for Palestine refugees. Touring Aida, the Spanish students took photos and played catch with the young refugee boys. They learned about the security threats facing all camp residents, including children and youth, for whom they pose a risk to their education.
At the Lajea Centre, the Spanish students met young Palestine refugees and listened to their stories about daily life, their challenges and their dreams. On their way home, the students stopped at the gate of the camp to take a picture with their companions, a reminder of the kinship between students and young people all over the world.
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.
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