UNRWA football team from Gaza wins again in Norway
For the third time since 2012, the UNRWA Gaza football team won the world’s largest football tournament for youth, the Norway Cup in Oslo, where this year 2,199 teams from over 70 countries participated.
The team from Gaza has been participating in the tournament in Oslo since 2010, except for 2014 due to the summer hostilities. However, 2016 is the third time that the team takes the prize back home to Gaza, beating Iranian Daniellee Football Club 2-1 in the final. The team also won in 2012 and 2015.
To celebrate their arrival home to Gaza today and their great achievements, the Norwegian Representative to the Palestinian Authority visited for a short match and talked with them about their experiences in Norway. The homecoming celebration also allowed UNRWA to congratulate the champions.
Participating in a football tournament with youth from all over the world is more important than the winning result from these young athletes. It constitutes a special lifetime experience for the young Palestinian footballers who might not have been able to travel outside the coastal enclave before. It is also a chance for them to represent Gaza refugee youth in a global competition and provides an opportunity to show another side of life in Gaza; the side that inspires and explores the dedication, resilience and potential of refugee youth.
According to the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP),participating in sports enhances children’s life skills, including team work, working hard, showing respect, accepting losses and standing by each other, while providing them with a safe space for recreational activities and opportunities to participate in a cultural exchange and create new friendships. The UNRWA Gaza refugee football initiative is generously supported by local Palestinian businesses and UNRWA. In addition, a pitch (oval) in central Gaza to train and exercise during the weeks leading up to the tournaments was provided at no cost.
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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