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UNRWA and the European Union Open Photography Exhibition in Beirut for Palestinian student refugees from Syria
Today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the European Union Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis, the 'Madad Fund', opened a new photography exhibition in Beirut. The event was attended by Mr. Claudio Cordone, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon and H.E. Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the European Union Delegation in Lebanon.
The exhibition showcases the previously unpublished work of ten Palestinian refugee student photographers from Syria who were chosen from across Lebanon to participate in an after-school photography workshop facilitated by international instructors. Over the course of one semester, students learned the basic tenets of digital photography and were invited to start documenting their lives, as well as events and activities in their communities, including those implemented by the EU Madad Fund.
“We are very pleased to host this exhibition to celebrate the inspiring talent of Palestine refugee youth,” said Claudio Cordone, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon. “The photos show innovation, determination and courage, in spite of the harsh realities that surround them, and remind the rest of the world that they too deserve a life free from conflict and violence.”
“Photography can help young people not only to see their surroundings better, but also to see deeper into themselves. We are thankful to UNRWA and the EU Madad project for the opportunity that they gave us to work with these ten talented students. The result of many weeks of focus, curiosity, and creativity is on display on these walls, and we are very proud of what they have accomplished” said Carlos Perez Osorio, one of the program’s instructors.
The EU Madad Fund, set up to ensure a large scale response to the Syrian crisis, provides comprehensive education services, enhanced protection for individuals at risk and humanitarian relief through the Agency’s cash assistance program. The fund has enabled UNRWA in Lebanon to effectively respond to the needs of Palestine refugees who have been affected by the situation in Syria.
EU and UNRWA: Together for Palestine Refugees
The European Union and UNRWA have a strategic partnership governed by the shared objective to support the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees and promote stability in the Middle East. The European Union is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees. This reliable and predictable support from the European Union enables UNRWA to provide daily quality education for roughly half a million children and primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. This 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.
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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