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Summer camps highlight “Europe” theme across the West Bank
14 July 2011
This week saw the launch of UNRWA’s West Bank summer camps, sponsored by the European Union. In addition to the regular fun activities, this year the camps will introduce children to the European continent and its various cultures.
The summer camps were launched across the West Bank in 68 schools. Thanks to generous funding from the EU, around 7,000 young people were able to take part. The camps form part of UNRWA’s efforts to improve educational standards throughout its schools in the West Bank. They also aim to give young Palestinian refugees a chance to enjoy the summer break.
At Beit Surik girls school yesterday, students had fun making puppets and producing a drama show, before closing with an interactive Q&A session on European capitals, Spanish football teams, and famous monuments.
Kawthar Atiya, headmistress of Beit Surik girls’ school, said: “The Palestinian curriculum only introduces Europe and its history in the eighth grade. So it was challenging at first for the girls, especially the younger ones, but they were very eager to learn and really managed to enrich their knowledge.”
Meanwhile, a session at Bir Zeit girls school focused on France. Girls discussed the French government’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and learned about French historic and cultural monuments. Drama and creativity was also on the agenda, as the girls put together and proudly performed two short plays.
Mayar, 10, said: “I was pleased to learn about French culture and the French way of thought. It was a really nice way to spend time with my friends.”
The EU and UNRWA
The EU‘s principal objective in delivering support to Palestine refugees is to contribute to the just resolution of the refugee issue as part of a comprehensive settlement of final status issues. In doing so, the EU ensures that the essential humanitarian and development needs of the Palestine refugees are met. It delivers most of such assistance through its partnership with UNRWA.
The EU has been UNRWA’s largest donor since 1971. The bulk of EU financial support is devoted to UNRWA’s core funding enabling it to provide essential education, health, and social relief services to Palestine refugees.
To find out more about the EU’s assistance to the Palestinians, visit the Europa website.
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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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