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UNRWA and EU Open Day Showcases Student Talent at Siblin Vocational Training Centre
With generous support from the European Union (EU), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) held its annual open day in Siblin Training Centre in Saida, southern Lebanon. Students of the UNRWA Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme showcased their achievements to potential employers after the first year of professional training.
Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Daniela Leinen, and representatives of the European Union (EU) delegation to Lebanon, the Palestinian Embassy, the Swiss Development Cooperation and Siblin municipality joined potential employers, community members, parents, and media to view the students’ exhibitions to learn more about their work with 3D printers, solar electrical systems, blood group testing, among other specializations. This academic year over 850 students were enrolled in the TVET programme, which offers quality training across a diverse range of courses including business management, civil engineering, hairdressing, carpentry, and nursing. Students from both the south and north campuses exhibited their projects at the event.
The occasion was also an opportunity to thank the EU for its contribution of EUR 5 million to support Palestine refugee youth in Lebanon. The EU’s support for the TVET programme enhances the employment prospects of Palestine refugee youth in Lebanon by raising the number of students who graduate from secondary education and increasing their access to vocational and tertiary educational options.
The Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, stressed that “UNRWA’s efforts aimed at ensuring that young Palestine refugees have the skills and confidence to succeed and fulfill their full potential."
In addition to student exhibitions, the UNRWA Career Guidance Unit, the Employment Service Centres and the Youth Unit set up booths to reach out to students, parents and community members offering their support as part of the Agency’s integrated approach to enhancing employability. The Legal Aid Unit engaged over 200 grade 11 students in an informative session on ‘The Right to Work’ initiative, with the aim of which was to equip soon-to-be graduates with the information they need to make informed decisions about their future. Students were able to ask questions and find out more about national labour laws, access to jobs, and the status of unions and syndicates.
EU and UNRWA: Together for Palestine Refugees
The European Union (EU) has supported UNRWA in the provision of core services to more than 5 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. The partnership between the EU and UNRWA has allowed millions of Palestine refugees to be better educated, live healthier lives, access employment opportunities and improve their living conditions, thus contributing to the development of the entire region.
In Lebanon, the European Union has established itself as a key donor for UNRWA supporting Palestine refugees from Lebanon and Syria through a variety of sectors (shelter and infrastructure rehabilitation, health, emergency assistance, youth, amongst others) with special attention to improving quality education and employability.
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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