UNRWA and Qatar Celebrate the Right to Education for Palestine Refugees Students

03 October 2018
Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) Managing Director H.E. Mr. Khalifa Bin Jassim Al-Kuwari addresses students at the UNRWA and Qatar: Joining Hands for Palestine Refugees event in Baqa’a, Jordan. © UNRWA 2018 Photo by: Mohammed Maghayda
Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) Managing Director H.E. Mr. Khalifa Bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, QFFD Sub-Governor H.E. Mr. Hakem Al Khraisha, Director of UNRWA Operations in Jordan Mr. Roger Davies celebrate the start of a new school year with Palestine refugee school students in Baqa’a, Jordan. © UNRWA 2018 Photo by: Mohammed Maghayda

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) organized a Back to School ceremony to celebrate support from the State of Qatar. The US$ 50 million contribution to the Agency’s education programme in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank was a vital component in the decision to open UNRWA schools without delay this August. The ceremony, held at the UNRWA Baqa’a Basic Boys’ School, affirms the importance of the right to education for Palestine refugees in the presence of the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) Managing Director H.E. Mr. Khalifa Bin Jassim Al-Kuwari.

The ceremony was also attended by the United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Anders Pedersen, the Deputy Head of the Turkish Mission to Jordan Mr. Orkun Ersoy, in the capacity of current UNRWA Advisory Commission Chair, and Mr. Muwafaq Abdul Ruhman Shreideh from the Department of Palestinian Affairs, and is part of a series of events tailored to celebrate the right to education for Palestine refugees, implemented by UNRWA in recognition of the generous support provided by Qatar to the Agency for 2018.

The Director General of Qatar Fund for Development, H.E. Mr. Khalifa Bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, speaking at the event he said, “What is more important is not the amount of the contribution, but the impact of this support to five million Palestine refugees. UNRWA is one of the most important and most effective international organizations in providing assistance and humanitarian protection to more than five million registered Palestinian refugees not only in the occupied Palestinian territories but also in the neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. This Agency is unique in as it provides direct services to Palestinian beneficiaries.”

The Director of UNRWA operations in Jordan, Roger Davies expressed his gratitude to the State of Qatar stating, “Education is a pillar of UNRWA services. This donation contributed to saving the school year for more than 120,000 Palestine refugees in Jordan. The students in the Baqa’a Boys’ School were excited to be able to go back to their school. It is very important that our students are able to learn and have access to inclusive and quality education.”

UNRWA student parliamentarians eagerly presented their volunteering and community service initiatives and briefed the delegation on an upcoming ‘reading corner’ initiative made possible through support from QFFD and Education Above All.

During a meeting held after the ceremony with H.E. Mr. Al-Kuwari, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl said: “We thank the State of Qatar for the trust in our Agency and for a very generous contribution. UNRWA highly values this important partnership and looks forward to further strengthening our cooperation in the years to come.”

Background Information: 

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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