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UNRWA and Islamic Relief inaugurate new school in Askar
21 February 2011
Nablus, West Bank
The United Nation Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and Islamic Relief inaugurated today Askar Community Basic School for Boys in Askar Camp. The school was funded by Islamic Relief for US$ 1.150 million. It will enhance and improve the quality of UNRWA’s education system to open better employment prospects for Palestinians in the future.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by the head of Islamic Relief – West Bank Palestine, the Palestinian Prime Minister Dr Salam Fayyad, and the director of UNRWA operations in the West Bank, Barbara Shenstone, as well as number of senior UNRWA staff, representatives of the local community and school students.
Shenstone thanked Islamic Relief for its continuous and generous support to UNRWA, particularly its commitment to furthering the education of young Palestinians. She said: “Improving the education of Palestine refugees is essential for the improvement of their living conditions in general.”
Shenstone highlighted the efforts that have been actively exerted by the Askar Camp Popular Committee in seeking funding and mobilising local and international partners for the construction of schools in the post-1967 parts of Askar Camp.
Shenstone expressed her hope to see more of this happening in other parts of the West Bank. She said: “UNRWA looks forward to continued partnership with Islamic Relief. We hope that the new school facilities, built to our standards by Islamic Relief, are one of many more projects to be implemented with future generous contributions from Islamic Relief and its affiliate organisations.”
The Director of Islamic Relief in the West Bank expressed his hope: “I am confident that Askar Basic Community School for Boys will closely cooperate with the local community and it will improve the educational process in the camp.”
The school premises provide a healthy and sustainable school education environment for 550 students. Its construction helps UNRWA to run recreational and curriculum supportive activities, since the new school consists of 18 classrooms, a computer room, a science laboratory, a library, vocational education room, a teachers’ room, a head teacher’s room, an assistant head teacher’s room, a counselling room, a storeroom, latrines, external works, external canteen with shading shed, playgrounds and other particulars.
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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