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UNRWA Concludes 'My Identity is My Dignity' Youth Summer Camp
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) concluded its 2018 children’s summer camp, implemented by the UNRWA community mental health programme (CMHP) across the West Bank under the title of 'My Identity is My Dignity.'
These sub-summer camps led by 46 of Palestine refugee youth, aged between 18-24 years of age, who underwent training and lectures and workshops for four days, providing them with the necessary skills to lead youth camps.
Eighteen sub-summer camps for refugee children were organized by the Agency from mid-July to early August, where hundreds of refugee children aged 6-13 years old benefited. The summer camps focused on several issues such as gender-based violence, sexual violence, communication, bullying and violence on social media. They were jointly implemented by the UNRWA education, relief and social services and health programmes.
Lubna Kittaneh a young trainee led a sub-camp in Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm with three other camp trainees. Kittaneh described her experience as one of renewal, noting: “This is the fifth consecutive year I participated in these UNRWA summer camp activities. What makes this year different is the special cooperation between different programmes, and their focus on issues that are important to children, ones that are not always addressed, like sexual harassment.”
Sharif Nasser, a supervisor of six sub-summer camps in the northern West Bank, considered that the most important achievement this year to be the implementation of these summer camps in light of the financial crisis UNRWA is facing. “The introduction of gender-based violence was a bold and new concept for children and their families, and through these activities, we’ve succeeded in raising their awareness of this important issue."
UNRWA Family Protection Program manager in the West Bank, Amal Ghanem stressed that this year’s summer camps confirm the role continuing dedication of the Agency to the provision of services to Palestine refugee youth and children in spite of the current budget deficit. She said: “As part of the UNRWA 'Dignity is Priceless' campaign, the slogan of this year’s summer camps is 'My Identity is my Dignity'. It was important for us to convey our message that the dignity of children and youth is part of the dignity and identity of the Palestine refugee wherever she may be.”
The Agency is proud to highlight that this youth summer camp has been implemented for the ninth consecutive year by the UNRWA CMHP-family and child protection programme. It is considered to be a core activity aimed at the improvement of mental health conditions for hundreds of Palestine refugee youth annually. The summer camps actively seek to build youth confidence and leadership skills and to help encourage a spirit of volunteerism in Palestine refugee communities.
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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